Slacker no wave punk-funk bridging the gap betwixt The Fall and Liquid Liquid
“The latest release from D.U.D.S. is a deepening of the sinister sonic territory they have been exploring, in various forms, since they formed. Bass lines and percussion lope through the undergrowth while jagged guitars pierce the ears. Then there’s the brass section, which works less as a means of driving home a song’s point, than as a warning that whatever comes next is unlikely to be anything you expect. Lyrics are still somewhat hard to make out, emerging from the rhythmic chaos at intervals, as though you were listening to the recording of an Old Testament prophet, preaching from the ruins of the twenty first century. I don’t know what kind of band D.U.D.S. are supposed to be. There are labels you could apply to them, terms like ‘wave’ and ‘punk’ with various prefixes designed to qualify the fact that they don’t really sound like anyone else. Immediate makes that fact all the more obvious and all the more compelling.
Sometimes you catch something unexpected which resets a switch, excites and engages. I caught D.U.D.S. a couple of years ago on a whim, they were visiting Newcastle supporting their debut album. I had never heard them or of them but the moment their perfectly disjointed music hit the room, I was all smiles. Warping brass shapes through the room entwined with guitars played as percussively as they are melodically, the whole sound coalesces into a rolling ball of spiked energy.
Their take on punk rock welds the caustic atonality of The Fall to the coiled funk of Liquid Liquid. Both drenched in negative information and loaded with dance floor impact. Lyrically themes explore the human condition a lurching dread and this dichotomy of no-wave funk and the lyrical creep is the hook the grabs me/you/us and forces a regular return.”
Rabit resets his sound in kaleidoscopic, cinematic dimensions on ‘Life After Death’, an absorbingly psychedelic, pop-wise and fractally refined follow-up to his trio of boundary-pushing albums that bridged the gaps between DJ Screw and Coil, grime and the GRM, also inspired by Surrealist art, Enigma, and Japanese Ambient artists like Hiroshi Yoshimura...
Divined and constructed over the last two years between studios in Houston, TX and Paris, France, ‘Life After Death’ is Eric C. Burton a.k.a. Rabit’s most concerted effort at working deeper into the cracks between genres, so deep in fact that stylistic taxonomy becomes obsolete and sonic alchemy is now firmly the aim of the game. Across its 12 tracks Rabit essentially offers himself as a conductive vessel between dreams and machines, a kind of dark interpreter and interlocutor between metaphysical spirits and the material world.
‘Life After Death’ is still patently Rabit, but a tempered version of himself - one that’s clearly coming, or has come to terms with himself and what he wants from his music, which now finds him moving away from relatively obvious pattern recognition to a finer graded consolidation of styles, meters, textures and feelings. In his words “the probing and revisiting of genres in electronic music felt fetishistic and limiting and wasn’t the best way for me to communicate”, adding ”…I think the occult term is interesting because I don’t hear this explored in music in ways that I find relevant. I leave it to time and the intelligent listener to make up their own meaning.”
Within this wider yet finer semantic framework, Rabit elaborates an unfathomably mystic sound akin to a movie score without the visual aspect, conjuring a kind of modern sonic answer to the percptions and notions expressed in Alejandro Jodorowsky or Stanley Kubrick movies. It’s succinct parts each connote the feeling of distinct, interrelated scenes traversing from keening synthetic chorales to impendingly doomy orchestrations, knots of gnarled distortion and isolationist instrumental grime études, with each finding a Cerberus-like biting point between rawness and deliberate, filigree detail, or the ultimate abstraction of death and the thizzing surreality of waking life...
Low Jack & Equiknoxx join Dominick Fernow’s Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement on a new double vinyl rendition of ‘Red Ants Genesis’. Recorded in winter 2017, it finds the Hospital Productions boss discovering strength in collaboration following the triumph of his ‘Ambient Black Magic’ classic, which was conjured with the crucial assistance of Juan Mendez a.k.a. Silent Servant.
Here, he works with Phillippe Hallais aka Low Jack who also tags in his pals Gavsborg and Time Cow from Jamaican digidub futurists Equiknoxx for a killer new dread dub of the title track.
On the tape’s original four extended tracks, Low Jack transmogrifies Fernow’s high volume microphone recordings of synthetic field ecologies with masterful sleight of hand in-the-edit, resulting in a hyperreal detachment and realignment of spatial proprioceptions executed with exquisite textural tactility. It’s far more oblique and desiccated than the relatively lush ‘Ambient Black Magic’ outing, rendering the stark durational immersion of their 30 minute ‘Red Ants (Mics)’ split over the first disc, while Low Jack’s percussive edits really come into play on the utterly gutted ’Shields Ferns / Brown Pine Magic’ and the slow, febrile push of ‘Papua Land (Live Edit).
But the biggest attraction here for some will be the curveball of an Equiknoxx revision of ‘Red Ants Genesis’. Surely one of the first meetings of Jamaican dancehall and dark ambient in existence, it’s a spellbinding piece of dub physics that demonstrates the endless, mutable imagination of Gavsborg and Time Cow in haunting and deeply mystic effect.
Gossamer dream-pop and wistful balearic strokes from Arturs Liepiņš and Anete Stuce’s Domenique Dumont for Antinote, reprising the midas touch of their acclaimed début, ‘Comme Ça’  with big highlights in the gently percolated pop of ‘Sans Cesse, Mon Cheri’ and ‘Le Debut De La Fin’
“August 2018: It’s already been three years since Domenique Dumont made its entrance in the music world with a debut EP named Comme Ca. Despite a seemingly very quiet musical activity (the opening song to Antinote’s compilation Five Years Of Loving Notes was the only song released by the band in 3 years) a few things have changed in-between these two summers: Domenique Dumont is no more the mysterious lone French producer we introduced last time but a Latvian duo, Arturs Liepins and Anete Stuce, which has been collaborating with “an enigmatic French artist whose existence cannot be confirmed nor denied” (sorry, but it sounds like there’s still some mystery in the air, and, again, we’re just as clueless as you might be), the duo have been touring live and, most importantly, they kept on broadening their musical palette experimenting in a definitely pop field. Eight of these experiments are now tied together in Miniatures de Auto Rhythm.
The record probably begins where Comme Ca ended: frantic but light drum programing backbones a solar and slightly melancholic melody on Le Début De La Fin (“the beginning of the end”). However, the scope gets enlarged as soon as one reaches the second tune, Quasi Quasi, or Quand, on the flip side, perhaps the most overtly pop-rock oriented song on the record with its Mediterranean guitar and emotional bridge.
The road towards the apex of the record, Le Soleil Dans Le Monde, is a narrow and windy one, punctuated by toy instrumentals like Ono Mambo Haiku or the Donkey Kong Country-friendly Message Of The Diving Bird; however it never departs from its original tongue-in-cheek attitude. It’s quite pleasant to imagine these eight “miniatures” as field recordings from an enchanted world of pop music designed by some Pierre & Gilles’ disciples – or are there
musical interpretations of half-mechanical, half-organic creations from a certain Otto Rhiesem (who might have inhabited the Locus Solus villa)? There might be no definitive answers to this second set of riddles by Domenique Dumont.”
A sweeter moment from qualified House practitioner Doc Daneeka starring Manchester chanteuse Abigail Wyles and backed with a more driving Lando Kal remix. 'Tobyjug' is probably the most tender track in his expanding cabinet, furnishing minimal keys and midnight bass curves with Wyles' burnished folk-soul vocal. Lando's remix dices the vox into gasps and echoic coos over bubblin', swinging 4/4 House rhythm.