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Ekoplekz – Skalectrikz review

Sometimes, the popularity of certain music can be a mystifying thing. Whether it be dull-as-dishwater production line fodder or the most testing of avant-garde weirdness, there’s just no accounting for what will make people tick. In the case of Ekoplekz, since his first emergence as Punch Drunk’s twentieth release, it’s been remarkable to observe the ascent he has made through numerous rapid-fire releases, noteworthy gigs and a sizable chunk of favourable press. Even the most ardent fan would find it hard to deny that his music is intentionally obtuse, eschewing formal patterns of rhythmic construction and melodic content in favour of abstract textural compositions with a strong leaning towards the terrifying.

However, there’s no doubt that there’s something in this music that many of his relative sonic neighbours lack, and that’s warmth. The choice of titles of his releases points to this, eschewing po-faced seriousness in favour of a fond tribute to crumbling memories of ephemera, whether it be a brand of cassette (the Memowreckz album) or, in this case, Skalectrikz. It’s a perfect continuation of the sound that Bristol-based Nick Edwards is zooming in on; a murky distillation of 70s sonic experimentation when post-punk herberts managed to get their grubby mitts on effects units and synthesisers.

Somewhere in the feedback loops of myriad sound devices, what should be chilling, alien music actually inspires a warm glow that conjures up the nostalgic feeling of fear you’d associate with Jon Pertwee-era Doctor Who. There’s echoes of the industrial dread of Throbbing Gristle, and the arcane angles of bands associated with Dick O’Dell’s Y Records. This is all underpinned by a dose of dub in the pure, King Tubby sense of the word, as healthy amounts of delay ensure those blasts of noise keep coming back to haunt you.

This collection for Mordant Music gathers together off-cuts and snippets of live shows, although the context doesn’t matter as much when delving your head into these dark and stormy realms of sound. It’s quite a polarising art; either the noise will fail to reach you or you’ll find yourself succumbing to the heretic textures and insidious messages these machines were never built for.

Oli Warwick


1. Skalectrikz 1
2. Skalectrikz 2
3. Skalectrikz 3
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