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|24 November 2017||
VA - Spheres
Spheres LP sees the launch of London-based Split Music's new Research label—the lineup reads like a who's who from the shadowy corners of the scene, showcasing some of the finest artists from the margins of the techno landscape.
We're ruffed up right from the start with a brutalising onslaught: Radon from These Hidden Hands terrorises with its grungy atmospherics whilst gnarled breakbeats relentlessly maul the track for its entire duration; this is the kind of assault one doesn't mind being on the receiving end of, ensuring the listener be fully alert for the remainder of the LP. Next and in stark contrast—though no less intense—Mondkopf delivers spaced-out, reflective melancholy on his contribution; The Runaway has a deeply introspective and searching quality that is expertly underpinned with a subtle rhythmic intensity, fluctuating swathes of white noise, and wave manipulation. After the quietly droning opening minute lulls you into a false sense of security, the aptly titled and distinctly cathartic Dunkelheit by SNTS reveals an explosive core: acutely controlled compressions and distortions form a highly textured backdrop for the dark lord to apply heavy bass drums which drive this ritualistic workout in a fashion we've become accustomed too. OAKE serve up a treat with Blemmyae, where a single sharp snare is joined by heavy, slow-thumping kicks, distorted ambiance and a shuffled, oscillating whine that prove to be the perfect accompaniment; you'll be more than happy for the Berlin duo to push you to the point of disorientation with their distinct brand of industrial drone-tech-noise. On penultimate number Follower, Headless Horseman lays down a lumbering and disheveled slab of beat driven, slow-motion, outsider techno with an unhinged quality; the layered beats feel satisfyingly disjointed and teamed with quite savage, coarse atmospherics that creates the impression it just might blow itself apart. Last but by no means least, Grebenstein brings up the rear with the ceremonial finale that is Meet My Needs: bass kicks and razor-sharp snares are imbued with delicately placed, fractured vocals that intertwine beautifully, building progressively to a palpably tense conclusion.
With such a stellar line up, Spheres certainly promised much, and I'm happy to say it delivers on all counts. With a clear emphasis on modern sound design principles that have become the benchmark, these six artists deliver a rich and varied blend of industrial, noise, drone, and techno that is backed up with an ever-widening cinematic scope.
Words by b.yond.
Release Type: VA / Album
Release Date: 24 November 2017
Release Format: Digital • Vinyl
Record Label • Catalog: Research • RES01