A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Label: Keysound Recordings
Release Date: 11.13
File Under: Futuristic, Grime, Deconstruction
Cold Mission, the debut album from Logos on Blackdown‘s Keysound Recordings, is like investigating some platonic alkali Outback, while the shapes of grime, jungle, techno, ambient, vaporwave & new age hang in mid-air, shimmer then fade, like Kandinsky constellations.
As electronic producers and listeners, we are constantly bombarded with possibilities, from the infinite expanses of unlimited multi-tracking to relentless RSS feeds.
It can be a case of too much of a good thing. Everywhere you look/listen, you are seeing electronic musicians (and probably musicians in general) taking a reductionist approach to songwriting, stripping everything down to it’s base components, and building clean and hyperefficient modern sculptures.
For at least half of Cold Mission, Logos seems to be referencing electronic music, rather than making it. This is truly experimental-every track seems to be it’s own microcosm, although there is a cohesiveness that marks this as an album rather than a string of singles. Logos is getting back to the potential inherent in the earliest days of musique concrete, truly a music of sounds. Logos rips apart the natural world, turning chirping crickets, breaking glass, cocking guns & disembodied radio DJs into broken beats; sparking Grime automata.
I would love to pretend to be authoritative about Grime, rapping rhapsodical about the state of Pirate Radio and urban British music, but truth be told, i am only recently discovering the genre. I was mainly familiar with its influence on the earliest stages of Dubstep, the British variety; the militant beat executions of Kode 9, the Playstation subterfuge of Burial. Rather than striving towards definitiveness, which is basically unnecessary as this album came out 2 months ago, and all the finest electronic publications have already spread their ink far and wide on the subject, i submit this piece as the field notes of a passionate explorer. Every review i have read of Cold Mission have referenced two things: Jam City‘s Classical Curves, which i’ve heard once or twice but never really absorbed, and Wiley‘s Eskibeat, which i know by sound (mainly in the bricolage of Burial), but have never had a name for. As every good occultist knows, names have power. Something previously unknown starts to take shape in mid-air, right in front of yr eyes, taking form, gaining substance.
While i may not possess a Ph.D. in Grime, i feel like i UNDERSTAND Logos, and what he is going for with Cold Mission. I feel like a lot of the breaking styles of electronic music, like Grime, as well as Vaporwave, Trap/Juke/Footwork, come from a generation grown up with Playstation beatstations, and they treat Ableton & their MPCs like Street Fighter 2 (totally dating myself there), mastering all the combos, getting all the finishing moves. It’s a bloody game, and it should be! A number of electronic producers have drawn the comparisons between programming beats, flow states and playing video games. It’s something, as a generation, that i think we will be insanely good at, and what we’re seeing is the fledgling states.
With Cold Mission, (and several other noteworthy electronic records that i plan to write about), Logos is correcting a few of the errors that have been plaguing this sampledelic music. Firstly, mixing. His record sounds good, pleasing on the ears and nicely mastered. I totally appreciate what a lot of Trap/footwork producers are going for, but their samples are like shards of digital glass in my eardrums, which makes it extremely hard to fall into their productions, let alone listen to what the MC is trying to say, if there is one. Secondly, Logos provides an alternative for the clinical disassociation of Vaporwave. In a way, Vaporwave strikes me as the whitest of white music, focusing on the surface level appearance of things, and completely disregarding the soul. I mean, we are all inspired by the past, and by the possibilities of sampling absolutely everything, but Vaporwave gives a rather startling insight into Western Culture’s nearly autistic labelling, filing and organizing, merely referencing, never reassembling (this only in the case of the most generic and bandwagon hopping internet acts). There’s a lot of acts that are taking the initial inspiration of referencing, re-arranging, and hacking the past, but combining it with traditional values like beauty, imagination, and something to say. Logos breaks the hermetic seal, setting these plasticine beats in a bedrock of natural sounds. It’s a world unto itself.
Logos, and this crop of new electronic music and producers, are providing a way forward, through the line noise and distraction of digital living. They are finding the soul in the machine, pointing us back towards actual live. Living with technology, instead of inside of it-a true fusion.
I will be investigating Eskibeat a lot further, so stay tuned. We will find the spiritual age of machines.
Get Cold Mission here: Cold Mission
While yr at it, listen to Logos’ mix for Fact Magazine, which showcases some of his influences, as well as some of the other emerging artists of this new form.