A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Welcome to another edition of rEcaP, where we feature some of our favorites of the EP format. EPs are vital to the musical ecosystem; they are often more focused, more adventurous, necessary movements inbetween definitive album statements. They are short, sweet, crisp and clear – and you can often play them endlessly.
I’m particularly excited for this week’s rendition, as we have brand new music by some of our favourites, both old and new.
There are few musical movements that we’ve been watching as keenly as the rise of what we’ve been calling industrial techno, the rough-hewn, handmade intersection between noise + electronic music.
For the longest time, it seemed that dance music was getting progressively cleaner and more mnml. This runs the risk of everybody’s music sounding the same, being made with the same gear, never leaving the hermetically sealed confines of the computer, with all soul had been removed.
There is a myth of progress, of history having some grand plan, that there was a utopia waiting for us at the end of the rainbow. There is a capitalist agenda, that newer always equals better, that you will be happy if you just have the right gadgets. Electronic music is particularly susceptible to this propaganda.
There are flaws in this theory, and people began to suspect that we had made a mistake. It seemed like there was something missing from modern life. More and more cultural theorists were saying that everything had been said and done, and our only option, as citizens of modernity, was to pick over the bones, to endlessly recycle the past. We began to miss the sense of possibility of post-punk and early techno, the people inventing what the future would become.
This EP from Ali Wells, the beatsmith Perc, head of Perc Trax, occupies an interesting intersection between the past and the future. He has taken tracks from the earliest material of seminal industrialists Einsturzende Neubauten, ripped them to pieces and reconfigured them into glorious twitching, pummeling dancefloor Golem. Mostly sourced from the Stahldubversions cassette, from 1982, raw sound sculptures that would become full ‘songs’ on Kollaps and Drawings Of Patient O.T.
To keep the feel of the originals, Perc turned off the quantizing grid in his software and chopped the originals using ear and intuition, then rearranging the pieces and layering them with new sounds, from a combination of hardware and software.
This is an alternative and a solution to the bullshit remix CD, with hack producers with nothing to say simply layering original tracks with a 4/4 housebeat. Perc is re-contextualizing the past, and making something new and interesting. It raises the bar for remixers, and bring up interesting ideas about what to do with History.
Hearing the 4 tracks remind us of the glorious throb that was early Neubauten: pulsing, repetitive, hypnotic. Ensnared by the beat, it is the intersection between man and machine. A kind of post-industrial shamanism, tribal rituals in the ruins of warehouses. This sound is coming back, and people are in a unique position to appreciate anew Neubauten’s mission statement, and to perhaps find Perc’s music for the first time, as well.
This is dance music for the end of history, ecstatic among the ruins. Living in the future is like living in all eras at once, and we can be whoever we want, this time around. To change the past is to change ourselves, and we can make this future into whatever we want.
British music journalist called his comprehensive history of post-punk Rip It Up And Start Again, and that’s exactly what Ali Wells is doing. We can take what we want of history, discard the misdirections, and refine the present.
This EP marks the beginning of SUBMIT, a new sublabel of Perc Trax for raw, improvised electronic music. Definitely keep yr eyes on this one.
here’s a great interview about the project, from The Quietus
“Lunebest” also gets my vote for single of the week!
Shatter And Lose
From the other end of the post-industrial spectrum, comes this brand new EP from Powell‘s up-and-coming Diagonal imprint.
Shatter & Lose sounds brand-new, even if Jim Donadio is interested in archaic sounds. This EP strikes a balance between brutalist, efficient techno, on ‘Kisses Undelivered’, jittery electro (“Poison The Masses”), and modern trap music (“Crawl On You At Night”). Prostitutes is taking whatever he wants, from wherever he can get it, surveying the wreckage of the garbage heap of history, looking for treasures, making holy scrapyard hymns.
As i mentioned in this review of the new Cave record, once you strip music down to base rhythm, you can build whatever you like. That’s part of what is making this new strain of industrialized techno so thrilling – dance tracks, stripped down to little more than drums, than layered up with flickers of noise. It’s brutalist architecture, that’s fer sure, designed to make you dance and lose yr shit, probably for hours.
I could listen to Prostitutes work his magick on the dancefloor all night. I will freely admit, i’m a bit of a fanboy, when it comes to this project, and every time he puts something out, i am reminded all over again how thrilling this music is. It makes me want to smear his tracks all over my body, to never listen to anything else, until i become a cyberpunk archangel of the pit & the greatest techno producer that has ever lived.
Stripping music down to its barest components helps you see what it is made of. You can really appreciate the nuts & bolts, which can be highly useful for burgeoning producers. It’s a good approximation of living in the antedeluvian flood of information in which we find ourselves, these days. It’s all there, waiting for you, but you have to learn to focus, to take what you want, and leave the rest.
Thanks to producers like Ali Wells and Jim Donadio, a way through the ennui of oversaturation is becoming apparent. We are coming close to a cultural Event Horizon, a nexus of every media that ever was or will be.
You can stream the whole thing at Fact Magazine
get it Shatter & Lose.
Listen to Penny & Haley, a promo mix by Prostitutes, a “journey through scuzzed out rock, psychedelic rhythms, and atmospheric techno from the likes of Genesis P-Orridge’s Psychic TV, Madteo, Kyle Hall, Dillinja, early U2, and ZZ Top. Yes, ZZ Top.”