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Vapauteen – Weld EP review

Ron Morelli’s L.I.E.S (Long Island Electrical Systems), launched in 2010, continues its faultless release schedule with its latest release from Vapauteen, aka Shawn O’Sullivan. The Weld EP is the second release for O’Sullivan, and it’s a far cry from his first record on W.T Records earlier this year. He makes a departure from introspective, dub-laced techno into a series of unedited box jams that are so hard and abrasive they’ll leave your turntable gasping for air.

The opening track, “Weld”, sets us up with fast-paced industrial noise, while raw and gritty sonar signals scratch their way through a relentlessly hammering beat. This track remains true to its namesake, bringing to mind darkened factories that house machines manned by identical stone-faced men – all of them trapped in a monotonous existence perpetuated by rugged techno vibrations. The music bleeds with rough sonic textures, featuring gushing sounds that threaten to distort themselves out of control at any given moment. The live, unedited aspect of this EP– having been recorded in one take with no thrills or add-ons – is almost impossible to discern, as O’Sullivan measures out equal doses of doom-mongering, industrial warfare and all-encompassing dread.

“Measure” continues the foray into a world populated by distorted kick drums and trance-inducing sounds. Vapauteen utilises a minimal 303 acid line which barely has room to breathe, fighting for air amongst an advancing dread-march that fists your aural cavities with deadly force. The industrial vibrations are cranked up, and with the escalation into a more gravelled sound – layers of thick grit that are seemingly in constant flux – it delves into the basement recesses of O Sullivan’s mind. Down here the faceless men become soulless droids, working in time to a never-ending beat while the storming progression of monotony faintly thumps through the ceiling.

“Mediate” goes at least some way towards mediating the entire EP. O’Sullivan breaks from the four-four pattern into a fast, electro beat structure, but one that maintains the bombardment of raw, industrial sounds. Whirring machinery clicks in the background, while a plodding 303 – tangled within abstract textures and filtered to extinction – only just manages to crawl out of the rapidly moving series of mechanisms. More over-distortion and sharp, violent sounds complete this homage to fast and raw dance music. It makes for tough listening in every sense. Hard, industrial noise doesn’t make for a particularly easy-going experience, but one that is worthwhile for those of us that yearn for an all-encompassing attack on the senses. Each component of every track on this record wears you down, as you work 24-hour shifts on the darkest assembly line on the planet.

Frank Mitchell

Tracklisting:

A1. Weld
B1. Measure
B2. Mediate