Boomkat Product Review:
Karl O’Connor (Regis) rallies the Downwards troops for the odd family portrait of ‘Let Love Decide’, including the first new Concrete Fence collab between Regis and Haswell since that killer PAN hookup, plus all new and exclusive tracks by label staples Mick Harris, Nick Dunton, Simon Shreeve, DVA Damas and Karl Meier, plus Rachel Aiello’s Layne, and Khrone/Mjolsness (Male) and various appearances by Regis himself in different formations.
‘Let Love Decide Pt.1’ is the first part of Downwards’ contemporary portrait series aligning veteran hands with the new class of mutant industrial disciples. The nine tracks include a strong clutch of exclusive projects such as the EBM supergroup You Hung - a quartet of Nick Dunton (vocals), Jim Siegel (drums), Simon Shreeve (Live mix and Studio), and Karl O’Connor (synth) - and Karl & Ken Meier’s “ambient” alias Obelus, cued up beside previously unheard Fret gear by Mick Harris and a Cub collab between Karl O’Connor and Simon Shreeve, to highlight the label’s strength in diversity and shared purpose.
Naturally, label kingpin Karl O’Connor is a constant throughout the set, a connective ligature that ties the slurred slow techno of Cub’s ‘Teenage Fists’ to the live band EBM praxis of You Hung, where O’Connor’s synth underlines Krishna Goineau-styled vox by Nick Dunton (65D Mavericks) and the gnashing drums of Jim Siegel (Raspberry Bulbs), as well as the welcome reappearance of his Concrete Fence duo with Russell Haswell in a sharp cut of pranging industrial funk that sounds like vintage Autechre, chopped and skewed.
Following his turn in Cub, Simon Shreeve also weighs in his powerful studio pressure on the soggy, gothic lurch of ‘The Space Between Cultures’, while Mick Harris ramps the distortion on a ravenous Fret cut ‘Helicopter Rig’. The rest is essentially a showcase of the label’s American ambassadors, taking in the scuffed modular dub brawl of ’Scale Reference’ by Karl & Ken Meier’s Obelus beside Layne’s blank-eyed swagger, and a stark shot in the ambient unknown by Jonathan Khrone & Benjamin Mjolsness (aka Male), while L.A.’s DVA Damas stretch out across the D-side on a stripe of sexy darkwave-techno rolige.