Various Artists – Replay
The second split release on the Tokyo-based 10 Label features an insert with an unidentified woman looking out at a cloudy horizon. It looks like a typically Utopian 50s image, and is in stark contrast to the music that the accompanying record contains. With just one exception, Replay is home to a mix of tracks that skirt sideways around modern conventions and popular tropes. The sole contribution that feels like it belongs to another time is Steven Porter’s “Fundamental Belief”. It is realised with a typically contemporary noisy undercurrent, but the slow motion hip hop beats, bugged out vocal sample and sluggish sensibility that the arrangement exudes reminds this writer of trip hop from the late 90s
This is the exception rather than the rule and the release also boasts “Tax Returns” by Matthew Herbert, a relatively rare dance floor excursion from the UK producer. Revolving around a lopsided rhythm and a series of stops and starts, “Tax Returns” belches out hiccupping percussion and is held together by a predatory Reese-style bass. Perc’s “Overbite” is similarly limber. Leaving his penchant for crushing, heavyweight rhythms and grainy noise temporarily to one side, the UK producer delivers an insistent stepping rhythm that hisses with the sound of static crackles and is driven along by sick bass licks.
Despite the presence of these established names, the standout track comes from Blackest Ever Black act Dalhous. “Subject Of The Stenographic Figure” is far softer and more human than its formidable title suggests and revolves around a dissected, glitchy rhythm, slow burning atmospheric textures and a sublime female vocal that lingers in the background. Like the woman looking out a new world full of possibilities on the cover, the release’s highlight shows that the gap between our expectations and what happens in reality is far wider than anyone could have imagined.
A1. Perc – Overbite
A2. Dalhous – Subject Of The Stenographic Figure
B1. Matthew Herbert – Tax Returns
B2. Steven Porter – Fundamental Belief