Boomkat Product Review:
Shanghai’s Hyph11e commits a debut album of brooding sound design and gnashing breaks to her home city’s Svbkvlt stronghold, following hardcore ballistics for Hakuna Kulala and a lead single prepped with a killer Kode9 refix.
Dragging UK ‘nuum dynamics into Shanghai’s impending, fast-fwd present, Tess Sun aka Hyph11e has carved out a fierce reputation with her shots found on the praised ‘Cache 01’ compilation and in DJ mixes by key players including M.E.S.H., Aïsha Devi, and Kode 9 & Burial over the past four years. On ‘Aperture’ she plays around the theme of holes, rupturing her own path thru rave spacetime with deft, barrelling breakbeats wrapped up in fluidly contoured synth schematics that probe mutant corners of the dance, somewhere between industrial breakcore tekno and junglist footwork, with bleak but sensually personalised soundcraft done in a mechanised outernational dancehall style shades away from her label mate 33EMYBW and Uganda’s Slikback.
Hyph11e sparingly lights up her music like scenes from a rave in strobing start/stop motion and with a knowing grasp of negative ecstasy - finding pleasure in the aesthetic and noumenal spaces between styles, time and space. She characterises this notion in the album’s brutalist bookends, ‘Encrust’ and the chemically overripe lushness of ‘Erosion’, while traces of electro-acoustic strings infiltrate the prowling stepper ‘Accretion’, and more traditional Chinese tonalities describe rangier Jungle Tekno landscapes in ‘Baily’s Beads’, and she summons wraithlike spirits from the fizzing industrial dancehall fissures of lead single ‘Barnacles’. At her most dextrous, proper UK hardcore is rinsed into labyrinthine warehouse variations on ‘Doppelgänger’ and ‘Get Out From Under’.
Anyone who suffers trypophobia may want to proceed with caution, but hardcore ravers of all stripes and futuristic leanings will sink deep into the ravishing style and puckered darkside discipline of this sharp, incredible album.