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|17 July 2017||
Grey Branches - Neuroclaps
I for one didn't expect to see Grey Branches again—a pseudonym of the multi talented Belgian producer and one half of Sendai—Yves de Mey. After a couple of recent, impressive outings on Entr'acte and Archives Intérieures, as well as his stellar remix for Pokk!, released under his birth name, it was a very nice surprise to see him revive the aforementioned moniker after a three-year hiatus for new LP Neuroclaps, marking a debut LP for Inner Surface, the label where it all began with 2014's Lower Bounds EP.
Gripping from the start, Arches is shrouded in mystique with its brooding atmosphere and eerie harmonics. Bass kicks take prominence, lurching forth before layers of subtle but intricate details are constructed; metallic pipes and micro-electronic noises by the midpoint are swept to the peripheries, making way for an ovation of mechanised claps—it's a busy sound collage that brings to mind the shunting of carriages in a busy trainyard. de Mey turns the wick up on Acrylic Hunger with some synthesized machine funk introducing the first of many delightfully off-kilter rhythms that lie in wait. Squelching kick drums leave hissing electrostatic footprints, while razor-sharp hats harpoon the bubbly, foaming FX, leaving you with a surreal image of a pool party for robots. Bevel begins with a serious attitude but soon loosens up, cleverly creating melodies and harmonies with percussive elements that are bent all out of shape and fractured, it's a real treat and tease for the senses: vibrating steel drums and quivering, stretched snares playfully interact with each other, while a voice-like, AI-machine monologue chips in with choral jabber. Rushed Corrosion pushes the tempo up again, its flattened kicks are accompanied by a beautifully muted bassline, laden with FX once more—this time mimicking the hyper-activity of exotic invertebrates: a million tiny footsteps, locusts devouring crops, crickets beating their wings, and ants spraying venom, it's a soundtrack for the nocturnal, a macro-post-acid exploration of rave music for insectoids. The tone darkens on Automatic Gallows, opening with haunting synths and hollowed-out kicks that are joined by the tightest hats and cymbals that are giving it a distinct flavour of Detroit, all the while an evil, snarling bassline occasionally gets a little too riotous and is then stung back into line with harsh, lacerating impacts of a barbed whip—corporal punishment! Split Limb is shocked into action by the incessantly droning buzz of an electrical transformer; in an excursion that echoes with post dubstep maneuvers, where the slippery snares and hats glide across the warped and distorted basslines, everything is underpinned by driving, punchy kick drums. Next, things get all tectonic on Rammed and its heavily textured landscape: hard bass-kicks make the earth quake while mutated, crackling snares spark off menacingly, mimicking overloaded high-voltage cables that are still live after being damaged by the tremors, while skewed melodies are getting buried deep in fault lines that are stuffed full of coarse, geological artifacts, behind the scratchy scrawl of a twitching seismograph, amidst the resonant aftershocks. Unpaced manifests as some overused and abused plumbing—in desperate need of a service, belching and burping throughout with the throaty sounds of mutated didgeridoo, while tinned hi-hats and gaseous bursts are characterized by plastic pipes and the venting of pressure valves; this is jerky, experimental dancefloor noise with a fevered industrial feel—DJs, play it if you dare! Bumping, heavy, reverberated bass kicks and synchronised, grainy snares that strike glancing blows: the title track Neuroclaps has a rather more serious head on its shoulders whilst exuding a calming intensity, it forges a dark path illuminated by sharp hats that gleam like cut diamonds, glitchy FX, and shots of acid. Finally, rippling sub-bass gently pulls at Synthesis Swindle from the start, punctured by hollow wooden kicks and later speared by glittering metallic percussion which slowly unfurls a swollen, throbbing, and melodic dronescape, in a thoughtful and contemplative end to proceedings.
Neuroclaps picks up seamlessly from where the Lower Bounds EP left off, it's a richly detailed foray into de Mey's beautifully warped vision of 21st century post-tech-tronics. Utilising his utterly unique brand of modular synthesis, he sculpts a plethora of industrial sounds and intricate electronics, fusing them perfectly with body-popping, machine-funky rhythms for both your dancing and listening pleasure.
Words by b.yond.
Release Type: Album
Release Date: 17 July 2017
Release Format: Vinyl
Record Label • Catalog: Inner Surface Music • INNERLP01