Hot on the heels of a bruising third release — Brothomstates’ archival timebomb, Untitled, sent from the past to destroy the present and very nearly succeeding — we have a somewhat smoother although no less singular dish to serve up.
Orrest is a multimedia artist from Manchester, whose name derives from a patch of Cumbria dear to him and central to this, his debut, project. A bitesize LP and series of associated objects, plucked from said Cumbrian landscape and arranged for home consumption, Holotype is as much a staunch (but sensitive) distillation of urban sonics — techy mid-90s IDM, contemporary UK bass music, Autonomic pop — as it is a psychogeographic sketch of the rural space it serenades.
Moreover, in an age of ‘studio muscle’, ‘sound design’ and ‘expert engineering’ (all on full display here, for what it’s worth), Holotype angles away from the huff, puff and hysteria. Avowedly off-piste, it skips to a musical, painterly, at times abstruse beat, in dialogue with yet disinterested in the brash and gaseous digital soundscapes of the day. ‘Popular’ music, yes, but lurking at the edges.
Defined as “the type specimen used in the original description of a species”, Holotype truly is a sonically self-contained and stringently self-generated beast, conceived, produced, mixed, mastered, assembled, packaged, printed and distributed by Orrest himself, with a gentle helping-hand from ourselves. Just as we did not all that long ago, we urge you to stumble across it.
This silly season, as the sales kick in and 2018 approaches like a giant lump of Trump-like lard, do the right thing for that special someone in your life and buy them a hyper-limited-edition hand-carved USB gravestone containing the first full work from Brothomstates – lord of intelligent dancing – in over a decade.
This terrifying, smallish slab, carrying a terrifying, shortish slab of semi-autonomous computer music that we’d probably describe as ‘post-IDM’ (although might also file under categories as esoteric and nebulous as ‘postmodern decomposition’, ‘dubstep 2.0’ and ‘processkore’), plugs directly into your home computer, fuelling it with the vital sonic syrup it needs to survive a cruel winter of landfill pop, munty Tescozak and dusted-off edam. If it doesn’t break it in the process.
“A satirical piece from the archives”, we’re told – out of hibernation, tarted up and off the leash – Untitled was written “as a sort of a counter-reaction” to the unrelenting maximalism of today’s saturated sonic field, where crushed kicks, plastic piano leads and idiotic lovestruck psychobleets, compressed into tinnitus-inducing oblivion, reign supreme. Spanning drone, glitch, pop, hop, step, tek, bass, bleep and algorithmic industrial appliance-wave, it packs a singular, system-smashing punch; you won’t know what’s hit you till it’s too late.
Delivered to us via “moped interwebs”, all the way from “Soviet Finland”, this also happens to be HMS Misc.’s first guest release, and it’s a thrill indeed to welcome the inimitable States o’ Brothom, one of Warp’s finest, aboard. For those familiar with his genre-shredding sound(s), it will be both instantly recognisable and appealingly new. For those not, it’ll probably just sound psychotic. “Different times, different manifestation”...
In each of Cacophonies’ cacophonies, every track from an unspecified (albeit hinted-at) classic album is played simultaneously, each unit patiently processed to fit with the rest, in turn creating an all-new – generally abstract, at times abject, occasionally euphoric – sonic landscape, one lacking the ‘face’, but bearing the traces, of the source in question.
By considering every song-channel as an instrument of a larger whole – and at root, this is exactly what Cacophonies does – the essence of the original album is distilled, through a maze of analogue and digital effects paths; smoke & mirrors nuclear fallout from the planned demolition, by detonation, of an erased antecedent.
Capping things off in suitably cannibalistic fashion, cacophony 9 is (de)constructed from the Cacophonies album itself, making it in one sense a pleasingly exercise-concluding recapitulation, in another, an excremental final emission forced out at the death: the last gasp; the phantom of the opera; the ‘cack’ of the ‘ophony’.
Two men, two guitars, some drum machines, software, and a basement. Recorded over a series of frantic one-take jams somewhere in the middle of fucking nowhere, Dungeon Ballads is the sound of two distinct – although not distant – worlds colliding: that of the band (in this case, of the punk/shoegaze variety), and that of the club (read: gritty haus/tekno rave in a shed in Poplar).
Digitally framed, shaped and manipulated, undercut with analogue drum loops and motorik machine grooves, Kessler V’s debut LP is nevertheless a fully, at times full-throttle, ‘live’ affair, warts n’ all very much to the fore, for all that there are nods to Raster, Namlook/FAX and The Sight Below (to name but some of Ballads’ electronic reference-points).
The point of the project is not to tritely ‘trick’ the listener into thinking that they’re listening to something they’re not (or vice versa), but to push past the limitations of a humble, DAW-anchored set-up and cramped surroundings, into a widescreen space defined by force, feeling, and good old-fashioned fervour.
And indeed, sonically, the final results – three extended wig-outs set up by a drone – are palpably more ‘rock’ than ‘laptop’, ear-bleedingly angular, abrasive, electrified and piercing, pointed at the heavens like a sawn-off with skag needles for bullets.