Boomkat Product Review:
Substantial payload of nervy algorithmic IDM and post B-Boy techno from Yorkshire’s SDEM for discerning Autechre and Skam heads. Includes a collaboration with NHK yk Koyxen
“SDEM releases have emerged on CPU Records, Opal Tapes and the MEDS platform. Mostly archival, his Seagrave album ‘ZNS’ (or ‘Zones’) describes much less a careful log of experiments conducted over a 15 year period, as an assemblage of electronic maps, a charting of ulterior paths half-followed, impersonal ‘zones’ traversed, mechanical entanglements undertaken and hallucinogenic spaces weathered.
With its cartographic charm, ZNS also confirms that persistent dialogue between visual culture and a rugged approach to drum computers that was, of course, given its boldest expression with graffiti innovation back in the halcyon days of electro and hip-hop. Despite citing the Griselda label as a tonal reference, for SDEM, his project is best construed in terms of mood and intensity rather than easy cultural codes or signifiers. Twenty or so years since Rawkus’ defining image of ‘Soundbombing’ and the hyper-kinetic wildstyle process of Autechre’s output, there’s only the uncertain glow of the past at work here, and which back-lights any present struggle to make and re-make the future anew.
Tempering progressive pattern work with the grainy echoes of obsolescence, ZNS partially expresses the frustration with what seems possible in synthetic sound design two decades into a new century: Across these 21 eclectic sound-pieces, synthetic forces cycle and slam, skitter and jolt; diffused through swarms of painterly pads and technical drones, obliterated vox mug for available space over massively compressed breaks and cracked drum machine clap.
At times brooding, at times banging, ZNS is more than simply a satisfying study in interference patterns and computer downrock. Ultimately, it is a collection inspired by a desire to crash out of the recognisable towards something wholly 21st Century, scrambling the codes towards a blaze of post-generic collisions.”