Etch: Strange Days (Seagrave, 2020)

December 27, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Etch: Strange Days

Etch’s new album seems like a departure from the hardcore revivalism of many of his earlier records. The influences for this one include iconic horror movies as well as the ghost town scenario of his home town of Brighton — not just due to COVID, but he says the music scene deteriorated into nothing even before that. Far from a typical escapist dance album, this has a few cuts that sound like grime tracks knocked over and struggling to get up, with heavy bass eruptions and panicking beats (especially on “The Man with the Other Face”). “Distrust” has a lengthy sample from The Thing set to a garage beat which gets more vicious and break-heavy as it progresses. “Naitsri Complex” is closer to the minimalist, deeply focused drum’n’bass of Photek and Source Direct. “No Sided Shape” is appropriately hard to identify as any particular style, as it has a sort of oddly measured tempo and then choppier breakbeats on top of that. “Mokujin Ballet” is another puzzler with slow, trippy beats and a graceful but ominous melody, and dubstep-ish bass whirring outwards. Perhaps is best of all is “Strange”, which starts heartbeat still and then elevates when the “Radio Babylon” breakbeat crashes in and gets twisted around.

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