Monday, 7 March 2011
RECOMMENDED: They Live – Pure Palms/Don’t Know What To Say [Autonomic]
One of the most challenging and rewarding moments of the Autonomic movement thus far has been Croms’ ‘Invisible Cities’ on Exit Records, an eight-minute synthesizer crawl through a dystopian wireframe landscape. The debut from They Live, a promising down-under collaborative partnership between Consequence (who, to be fair, is actually Kiwi) and Joe Seven, proves there’s more life in this direction yet.
While the album the duo have produced for Exit Records tends to stick its fingers into electro sockets, the two tracks on their Autonomic single are decidedly dnb-not-dnb in the same way as ‘Invisible Cities’ is. Cruising steadily on a percussive foundation that just barely manages to hesitantly tap out the required 170 beats per minute, both tracks are gentle, thermal visions, where the ethereal pads contrasted by gritty, analogue textures. ‘Pure Palms’ is simply a masterpiece of both sound and structure, slowly sputtering to life and teasing steam out at the end of each bar with the hiss of sensual, staccato cymbal hits. Its unforgettable melody crests and crashes in lukewarm waves, the slow-motion ebb playing tricks on the otherwise brisk tempo.
Where ‘Palms...’ blankets, ‘Don’t Know What To Say’ focuses more on the dynamic potential of empty space, burned-out shells of what were once drum machines crunching and crackling a makeshift beat filled in by minuscule rattling. The track’s assertive chord progression threatens to overwhelm as layers of synth are carefully piled on, until the scant framework can barely hold it up anymore. While it looks like it might be a one-off, the single’s accomplished take on scorched tropical synthwave as filtered through burned-out, afterhours Autonomic makes for one hell of a souvenir from whatever alternate universe it came from.
Words: Andrew Ryce