Monday, 18 August 2014

Vessel - Punish, Honey (Tri Angle)

Fancy dancing to a different drummer? Here's some fresh bio-mechanoid music from Young Echo's Seb Gainsborough who, praise be, has refused to march to the same old pace as most of his electronic music companions. Whilst some handmade instruments are involved it's not quite Harry Partch but it does sound new (to these ears). 

I don't hold with Kathy Acker's rallying cry (from Ezra Pound) to always 'make it new' (ironic considering her penchant for plagiarism) because first and foremost things should be made good, but so many music-makers can't quite manage that, preferring to lapse into adequate (at best) efforts in the same old genres (Ambient, Tech, Industrial etc). 

So Gainsborough deserves a good slap on the back, probably a naked back...oiled...writhing in ecstasy during some good Red Sex, whatever you might imagine that to be (is it what Christine Keeler got up to?). The cover and titles like Punish Honey suggest some S&M games, perhaps, but that's not the theme. It's been stated that 'Englishness' (the meaning of) is one of the themes behind the album, although I can't hear it myself and it's not evident in the titles.

No matter, starting an album with a disjointed rum roll and road drill is a dramatic and effective way to lead in to the track featured below, probably the 'catchiest' tune and one that immediately worms it's way into your head. That weird lead instrument and the wonky tune played on it will prove to be one of the highlights of this year, I'm certain.

Drowned In Water And Light continues the style, if not the mood, slowing things down to a sludgy beat that would be dull if not for the attention to detail and added textures. Euoi takes thing up a gear, again with emphasis on the drum beat. Whilst there's a good break it's the simple melodic refrain on repeat that starts to suggest Prog from a parallel universe. Kin To Coal borders on, dare I say, the realms of Metal, but I doubt it'll be a favourite at Reading Festival. Still, it is 'heavy', man. DPM is similar to Red Sex and that's no bad thing. 

I wouldn't say it's a total success, simply because the new territory seems to unsettle Gainsborough as much as it will those hoping for a more common kind of electronic music. By which I mean he seems a little fearful of going right out to where the really weird things are. But if his aim was to retain familiar darkness married to some driving beats yet introduce new elements, he succeeded totally.

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