Skirt – Horizontal Ground 10 review

Horizontal Ground started off as a typical faceless, heads-down techno series, but under the more recent stewardship of Bethany Skirt, it has become a go-to imprint for spooky, abstract releases. While every second techno producer is rekindling their long-lost love of Coil and Throbbing Gristle –  we’ll only believe people who, like Weatherall, have the tats to prove their genuine affiliation to the Temple Ov Psychick Youth – it’s not hard to see that Skirt isn’t just another fellow traveller.

“Track 2” is as spooky as modern electronic music gets, its dead paced beats clanging their way straight up from the factory floor, accompanied by the locust-like chatter and hum of percussive repetition and a tapestry of eerie, static noise. “Racing The Sea” meanwhile, is more ambiguous. This writer was left in doubt about whether Skirt was trying to evoke innocent childlike dreams through her use of atmospheric chords or whether she was trying to conjure up a nightmarish scenario thanks to screeching horror riffs. Or evoke both of these conflicting emotions simultaneously. Irrespective of her intentions, “Racing The Sea” is a challenging piece of music and the pitter-patter percussion and understated bass gurgle provide the necessary framework for her audience to seek their own interpretation.

Finally, and perhaps in recognition of Skirt’s sterling work, German producer T++ (in keeping with the label’s aesthetic, he is assigned the numeric name 20 16 12 21 19 16 12 21 19)  also straddles the seemingly disparate worlds of dreamy innocence and robust functionality on his remix of “In The Meadow Under The Stars”, where stop-start poly-rhythms support waves of atmospheric textures.

Richard Brophy