Boomkat Product Review:
Incred fuzzbox gristle from Editions Mego labelmates Klara Lewis and Nik Colk Void, 'Full-On' is a nutty back-and-forth that sounds as close to punk as experimental electronic music gets, turning blown-out loops and grotesque samples into elongated, disorientating blasts of heady distortion. RIYL Helm, Graham Lambkin, Aaron Dilloway, or Flora Yin-Wong.
Damn this one's good. Lewis is best known for her smeared run of Editions Mego sets, while Void has built up a reputation for industrial excellence as part of Factory Floor, bolting together an ace solo debut last year. Together they make music that's neither one nor the other, using their technical knowhow to improvise so fluidly that it doesn't really sound like the work of two people but a single, motivated mind. Each track is radically different - sometimes guitar plucks, textured ambience, or deranged modular sequences, sometimes snippets of pop music stuttered into abstraction - but everything's unified by the duo's bold use of distortion. And we're not just saying they're wanging their material through a few choice pedals, this is the kind of distortion and saturation that's so gritty you'll be pulling stones out of yr shoes, tweaked to perfection by two minds who realize the power and responsibility that comes with intense dynamism. Power ambient it ain't.
They start as they mean to go on with 'Say Why' forcing subs through their pedalboard and letting searing noise dissolve obscured rhythms, bizarre synth squeals and vocals. It's hard to tell which elements are there or not, let alone which artist is in control of them; there's a sense that they're both sat head-to-head, watching each other's reaction as they curl the saturation into blunt, filtered drones. And it doesn't stay anywhere for long: on the brief 'In Voice 1', Lewis and Void chop chirpy voices into a playful nursery rhyme that mutates into a theatrical AutoTuned chorus, before tripping into 'Junk Funk', a screwed funk loop that swiftly devolves into noise. 'Ski' is even better, taking a short snippet of Turko-Balkan folk pop and smudging the edges, treating it with respectful disrespect and enhancing its psychedelic potential with radical pitch shifts and, of course, plenty of fuzz.
The duo give a sly wink to camera one on 'Guitar Hero', damaging deranged guitar strums with harsh edits before ramping it into the red and reminding us of John Weise's epochal 'Soft Punk', disrupting their crunching axe sounds with cybernetic stutters that make it unclear whether we're inside the box or far from it. This mood continues on 'Pop' where, as you might expect, the same treatment is applied to glossy '80s pop music - it's vaporwave in a sense, but with sharper teeth and a far more pronounced arched eyebrow. And the album isn't without its breather moments either: 'Found' and 'Swimming' are gorgeous, ethereal moments, with the latter spinning a microsample of what sounds like Arthur Russell into a woolly memory.
If you're missing the CDR days when Midwestern noise bands would seemingly release records daily, Lewis and Void bottle that energy and drizzle it over a record that reminds us how fun experimentation can be. V good.