Boomkat Product Review:
Living legend of UK industrial music, Simon Crab (Bourbons Qualk) churns up a variegated electro-dub sound on the 3rd LP under his own name since returning from over a decade in the cold.
Co-founding member of inspirational post-industrial outfit Bourbonese Qualk, Crab has been key to a continuum of energies that spans original industrial-power electronics and thru to ambient ethnotribalism, early hardcore techno, and myriad strands in between. Originally from Southport and Liverpool, and later based in a South London squat where he was a lynchpin of anarchist movements in the ‘80s and beyond, Crab is one of those figures without whom UK underground music might be very different. ‘Invisible Cities’ for Leeds’ Space Ritual label is a characteristically wayward but coherent new collection from his studio, now based in Hastings, where he continues to pursue electroid gremlins down the wormhole, with a particular dub and spatio-textural leaning and the tang of far-flung tunings that has informed much his work since the late ‘70s.
Consistent with his politics, the aesthetic of ‘Invisble Cities’ is close as you’ll get to original ‘80s post-industrial explorations. Ksenia Lukyanova Emelyanova voices the opening ambience of ‘Headless Day’ shades away from likes of O Yuki Conjugate’s “dirty ambient” style, and the industro-dub ov ’Stack Interchange’ resonates his early work and links with Muslimgauze, one of many artists hosted on Crab’s crucial label, Recluse Organisation. The title tune echoes early ‘90s squat party backroom sounds, while the glitching Eastern-sounding strings of ‘Edgelands’ hail his later fascinations with non-domestic UK styles, while the eldritch whirligig of ‘What remain’ plays deep into them.
The set vacillates these interests between Indonesian gamelan rhythmelody on ‘Phantom Power’ and sozzled electro-dub of ‘Kodokushi’ , or the workshop clang of ‘Invaders’ into cinematic scene of ‘Thirst For a Beautiful Mouth’ with a rare, sprawling vision that wears its politics inherently; shoring up in ‘Yarlswood’ so named after the immigration removal centre and no doubt making his sympathies for the detainees and feelings on Tory policy plangently plain to hear.