Monday, 7 March 2011

Memowrekz - Ekoplekz (Mordant Music)

At last an album to get excited about in 2011 – the first and hopefully not the last, but regardless of things to come this will be one of the best, in my bunker anyway.
 Nick Edwards states that his music is ‘conjured into existence in an entirely analogue environment. Recorded to four-track cassette, ignoring all basic rules of good recording practice. Absolutely no post-production during mix-down/digitisation other than some very discreet ‘nips and tucks’. All extraneous noises including tape hiss, crackle and hum are intrinsic to the recordings.’ All of which make this such a compelling piece of work, yes, the crackle and hum, the noise, nuts and bolts of machines being manipulated...being driven to do their masters bidding, rather than seducing him into polishing every sound to ‘perfection’. But this is a kind of perfection, the kind that made Punk so appealing, the imperfect variety which shuns slick musicality in favour of raw self-expression. And, you know what? I haven’t even played all 33 tracks yet. ‘Toxic Shock’ is currently pummelling my brain.
   It wouldn’t matter if the remaining tracks turned out to sound like Enya – ha! – what are the chances? Slimmer than winning the lottery, or the Culture Show discovering new electronic music. Besides, if this album took a drastic nosedive, I’d still urge you to buy it.
   If Edwards has a sound like anyone else, I’ve yet to hear it, but you could say there are elements of Lee Perry, Pan Sonic at their most bone-crushing, Demons...that’s enough references. There’s some olde wobbly bass now and again, some raucous knob-twiddling, screaming synths, grating noises...a kind of ethereal grunge, and I mean that in a good way. I imagine Edwards taking a hammer, pliers and screwdriver to the controls, twisting, beating, squeezing sounds out of equipment held together by masking tape. In the spirit of not only Punk, but also classic Jamaican productions, the unrefined noises here reek of spontaneity without being artless.
   Not wanting to give the impression that this is all a discordant din, I should stress that it isn’t. When sounds are stripped down, however, it’s no less seductive, as on one of the more generic tracks, ‘Spielzeit’, where the Dub influence is most obvious. Despite having a ‘sound’, Edwards also has many ways of exploiting his methodology, more than enough to keep you listening and interested in what’s coming next.

You can buy it here

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