[Alt-right paramilitary group] Vanguard America’s main organizing activity is hanging up racist flyers in the dead of night. The three of them had recently flyered Prospect Park, but complained it didn’t get any media attention, which they rely on for recruiting. I asked what they had planned next, and Tim replied sheepishly that they were going to flyer another college.
“I know it’s been done a lot,” he sighed, “but it’s the only thing that works. We tried other places–”
“The museum, the park…” Deacon interjected.
“And nothing!” Tim continued. “The beauty of colleges is there’s always some aspiring journalism student looking for a scandal. It works every time.”
The rate of exciting new releases tends to hit a blinding velocity at this time of the year as one can barely keep up with records from past faves that compete for mental space alongside newer voices rising up. After a brief update from Buttechno’s ever-promising Rassvet Records and its latest missive from the big room-primed producer Shadowax, we check in with new twelves from the likes of new Hessle Audio signing Shelley Parker, Timedance and Ilian Tapes vet Laksa, and a recent Parris remix for Happa before closing things with the latest rave fetish from XL.
Awwwww yeah, the dude Buttechno bestows another Rassvet release upon the knowing masses before the year closes out, introducing a new wrinkle into the young label’s ever-expanding aesthetic. Russian producer Shadowax turns in a sub-smacking remix of a 90s Russian hip-hop jawn, the type of track that will likely straddle both loft parties and big rooms with explosive results, her wonderfully detached vocals perfectly pairing up with relentless royal rumbles. ‘Tis a banger. Cranking the BPM up a few notches and descending into wind-swept DMT pornographics, the Butt turns into a typically psyche-rupturing remix that gets an expanded version on the flip alongside an acapella of Shadow’s vocal turn. Hot. Shit.
Although I can at least profess a familiarity with the work of LDN-based artist Shelley Parker via her work for the Entr'acte label, kudos to Hessle for bringing her to an even wider audience with the soaring three tracks on display for her Red Cotton EP (which just also happens to feature a sizzling remix from favorite Ploy). First up, her noise-kissed kraut-dub rhythmacrobatics on “Red Cotton” calls to mind Beatrice Dillon’s work from the past few years while carving out a dynamic lane all her own. Marrying echo-laden field recordings with truncated’n’clipped breakbeats and broken’n’bruised pophall mutations, “Angel Oak” takes the listener deeper yet into her sound world, a place where the space between street and club shrinks at an alarming rate. Following the weird stepper masterclass from Ploy, the EP ends with the found sound sunrise of “Masonry Pier” that takes blunted breakbeats and throws em naked and plump into a hall of broken mirrors. Brutally bucolic.
I have to admit, when I listened to the global village downbeat of “The Amala Trick” a month ago or so off of the badman Laksa’s triumphant return to Timedance after a pair of sizzling EPs on Ilian Tapes, I was more than a bit flabbergasted. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a hot track and one I will most certainly work into plenty of future mixes (assuming I get a vinyl copy before they sell out). But given his exceptional ability to constantly move the target left of center with his robo-swinging rhythms, “Amala” feels unusually nostalgic for a producer who is amongst the UK’s current vanguard of producers who seem hell-bent on melting dance music into an amniotic stew. However, any hesitations I might have had about snagging the producer’s second Timedance release fell to the wayside upon hearing B-side cut “In The Middle” late last week, which reminded me of his singular ability to move asses and stroke chins. Haunting atmospherics fall downward amongst restlessly colliding vocal phrases and utterances that seem to collectively implore dancers to abandon all sense and sensibility to the beat, a cybernetic meltdown arriving mid-track to deep fry all available grey matter. Briiiilllllliant.
Parris is yet another UK producer who has implanted themselves at the front of my sensory array the past few years. In addition to helming the latest twelve from Bristol’s top-shelf Idle Hands imprint alongside an expert split with Kowton, both producers also are responsible for probing remixes on Happa’s latest on Fnord Communications with Parris throwing down a static-ridden post-electro beat that casts a dark light straight through the white noise. As a horror-strung drone shivers its way into the mix, Parris continues to excavate what comes after dub techno as echo and reverb cascade around with enough millennial anxiety and cinematic sensibilities to deter any lazy labeling. And don’t forget to scope the brightly hiccuping Kowton remix on the flip for some ruminative house flexing!
XL Recordings’ attempts to seemingly monopolize the chin-stroking raver set can be a bit dull at times. But when a new record of theirs gets dozens of mean YT comments (alongside the requisite ‘where is Jai Paul’ asides), well, color me intrigued. Let’s break the rave.
Update: Turns out this is a Shed alias! Have really been digging his output as of late as he is pushing things outward at the fringes of form and function.
And one more for the road…as much as the punk-industrial-EBM dance music axis tends to get some serious eyerolls from me, the stuff coming out of Bristol labels like Fuck Punk and groups like Giant Swan and Bad Tracking at least throws the 4beat in the blender for a bit more rhythmic variance while upping the bass to gut-churning levels. Perhaps my hesitation comes from a life playing in bands and embracing the infinite frequencies of electronic music, meaning that when I hear the oft-predictable effects of distortion, the dome goes on autopilot. Either way, the stop-start beats and texturing are more engaging than anything you’re ever gonna hear on Hospital, so, that’s something? And the EBM fetishization is done with considerably more thought than it seems to be most other places these days (I honestly have quite the tormented relationship with the genre;)