Lock up your daughters, the enfant terrible of abstract techno has unleashed his debut album and he’s sure to leave a trail of destruction in his path. Or will he? While there is no doubt that Samuel Kerridge is a talented artist and his work is far more rewarding than the runt’s litter currently passing for industrial techno, it’s also hard not to arrive at the conclusion that he’s having a bit of a laugh too.
It explains why Downwards boss Karl O’Connor, perhaps electronic music’s most loved arch-situationist, has taken him under his wing and is releasing this debut album from Kerridge. Undoubtedly, there will be loads of pop-psychology assessments of A Fallen Empire, where the reviewer will make the connection between Kerridge’s music and the slow disintegration of modern capitalism. To do this would miss the point and in any event, Juno Plus is not the platform for such sixth form verbiage.
For this reviewer, the most impressive aspect to A Fallen Empire is the author’s ability to incorporate a myriad of elements and sources into his death-paced, noisy productions and come out with freakishly engaging results. On “Black Sun”, Kerridge marries a Middle Eastern call to prayer with jarring, metallic sounds that eventually descend into waves of noise. “Chant” features gut-busting bass licks, like No U-Turn subs slowed right down, providing a basis for a success of noisy, industrial hammering riffs. Like all the other tracks on the album, “Death is Upon Us” has an unfeasibly gloomy title, but on this occasion, it does appear to bear some relation to the music, as it starts with what sounds like the last breaths of a dying person before progressing into a dirgy, droning denouement.
Elsewhere, Kerrdige embraces horror soundtracks – the chilling synths and juddering beats of “Disgust” makes for perfect Halloween listening – while the standout track, “Heavy Metal”, combines a super-slow Hoover bass with repetitive micro beats and the sound of a lift crashing to earth from 40 floors. You could spend half your life analysing and dissecting the meaning behind A Fallen Empire, but the best thing that can be said about it is that it has the same ghoulish appeal that drives people to look an at the aftermath of a motorway pile up – it’s the unequivocally wrong thing to do, but it feels so right.
A2. Black Sun
B1. Death Is Upon Us
C1. Straight To Hell
C2. Scare Tactics
D1. Heavy Metal