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Grey Branches – Lower Bounds

Belgian artist Yves De Mey is a hyperactive talent and Grey Branches is his latest project. While much of his output is experimental, he isn’t completely divorced from dance floor techno – check some of his Sendai work with Peter Van Hoesen – and this new venture seeks to unite those often incompatible worlds.

Grey Branches - Lower Bounds
Grey Branches
Lower Bounds
Inner Surface Music
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“Exsolve” starts the release with a bang. Static hums and frequency shifting tones provide the intro but these are quickly joined by punishing, distorted broken beats and a horror riff on a loop for the remainder of the arrangement. The title track is slightly more accessible – if that description can be applied at all to De Mey’s work – and revolves around a pounding, midtempo rhythm. Again, De Mey brings his love of sound design and experimentation to bear in the form of bursts of white noise, tonal hums and scratchy, shrill riffs. In a move that will probably surprise fans of the Belgian producer, the track breaks down to the sound of an upbeat but primitive-sounding synth riff.

It’s hard to imagine how either of these tracks would fit into a techno set as they are too slow for peak time and are delivered with too much sonic intensity for the early part of a night. That said, they do make for an impressive start to Grey Branches’ crossover experiment.

There is no such ambiguity on ‘Binate’. De Mey’s ability to deliver pounding rhythms impresses once more, but this time he picks up the pace and fuses those cavernous, booming kicks with a cacophony of ear-shredding synths that exude pure, raw form anger. Amid this fury, the accompanying metallic percussion struggles to be heard and sounds almost like an afterthought. The release closes with “Plagent” which sees De Mey retreat to his experimental comfort zone and deliver a noisy but strangely soothing sound scape, all grey hues and blurry, indistinct shapes. After the brutal pounding of “Binate”, it offers sweet relief.

Richard Brophy


A1. Exsolve
A2. Lower Bounds
B1. Binate
B2. Plangent