Abyss X follows a notable turn for Halcyon Veil with her steeply enigmatic début of mystic composition for Aïsha Devi’s Danse Noire
“Taking its title from a Minoan legend that deals with rage, greed and destruction, the latest release from Abyss X expands and reconstructs conceptions of aural space and time. Out on Danse Noire, Pleasures of the Bull finds the multi-disciplinary artist and producer flirting with the sounds of hard jazz while mystifying the parameters of experimental music across several distinct movements, thus allowing the listener to break free from their sonic principles.
Intoxicating, ambient textures mesh with Abyss X’s own expressive vocals, as well as the sounds of the traditional Cretan lyra, played by Maria Skoula. Her sound modification creates a collage of temporalities – allow yourself to move outside linear dimensions, and her to confide in you. Prog rock guitar lines twist stolidly beneath warped vocal samples, and the timbre of the bowed lyra permeates the atmosphere in a thick, suffocating haze.
As the listener travels through space and time, so too does the artist. Abyss X delves into the fullness of her craft, drawing from her background in theater and performance, in addition to the frenzied energy of her live shows as a musician. The music throbs with a frantic yet unmistakably deliberate drama. Pleasures of the Bull feels like a gentle punch in the gut; a compelling auditory performance and a bold exploration of the narrative album format.”
Afrodeutsche provides Skam’s best release this decade with Break Before Make; the British-born Ghanaian/Russian/German artist’s début album of Detroit-inspired hardware jams
For the better part of two decades in Manchester, Henrietta Rolla-Smith a.k.a. Afrodeutsche has been a fixture in the city’s underground currents, but this is the first time she’s properly revealed her solo music, making for a mesmerising addition to the legacy of Manchester’s most notorious electronic music label.
Clearly nodding to Detroit’s seminal electro-techno sound, both implied in her pseudonym’s reference to UR’s Afrogermanic; and explicitly in her moody, raw, machine-made style: Afrodeutsche exerts a a deadly and unique spin on classic styled with an effortlessness that’s not common to Skam’s typical taste for frenetic arrangements. However, on the other hand, the inherent hip hop leanings of her slower grooves, and a mutual passion for bittersweet electronics is patently self-evident across the 14 tracks of Break Before Make.
As with her ace live shows, the tracks are all built from a combination of improvisation and preparation, the result of so many years of honing her hardware intuition so she can fluidly speak and emote thru the keys and wires. In that sense, each cut unfolds with an off-the-dome linearity, with reticulated rhythms sidewinding under chromatic lixx that variously keen, layer and chatter with a sci-fi cinematic sort of encrypted abstract narration.
Essentially, it’s an unmissable album for anyone who’s been entranced by the myriad projects of Gerald Donald a.k.a. Heinrich Mueller, or anyone who enjoys interpreting machine music with proper funk and dark, yet playful soul.