Low End Lowlife: 16.11.11

Matthew Bayfield reports...

Posted on Nov 16th, 2011 in Features and Interviews / By Matthew Bayfield
Low End Lowlife: 16.11.11 Winter is here once more. The soulless frost that entombed your seemingly endless 9- 5 coma of an existence has taken physical form yet again, leaving you brutally numb, weary and prepared to die before you've even made the Kiss Breakfast Show blighted trudge to the workplace/DSS Office, let alone first tea break. Never mind! It's all good really! That astronomical fee you receive at month's end (you know, the one that barely covers the cost of bog roll and toothpaste) is yours to spend on bourbon and vinyl! (After taxes...)

Here's where to redirect your overdraft this week:

Truth return to our bitter shores (in a sonic context) with more of their heavy roots fed sound. The New Zealand trio have clearly been busy in the land of midgets and mutton (everyone knows there is no economic infrastructure outside of sheep and Hobbits over there) with three separate platters coming out on three separate labels. The little tarts. First up is the 'Full Baked/Birds' 12" courtesy of the ever expanding Black Box, who, having given a home in the past to the deep head sounds of folk such as N-Type, Commodo, Seven and RSD, whose ‘Naked Mariokart’ cut was probably the greatest single of 2010, are an ideal home for Truth's creations and here they don't disappoint. 'Full Baked' on the A comes in soft with a slow atmosphere of synths settling in around Eastern styled pipes and some nervous cymbal patter only for the bottom to drop out into a cavernous bass wobble swathed in more haunting pipes. The pressure lets up briefly as some light is allowed to shine in through the fogged subs only for a second drop to be employed taking the track back down into its brooding stagger. On the B 'Birds' takes on similar form, with the gentle chirping of birdsong sunken in an almost aquatic bass rumble that peaks out into space briefly before dropping back down into a leviathan deep recess. A fluid little trip for the mind indeed. Meanwhile over on Get Darker it would appear the gents of Truth have been inspired to as the label name commands. Coming with two compositions by the names of 'Direct Blow', which is a straightforward heavy duty bass throb of a piece and 'Snake' a slower, less aggressive but undoubtedly more sinister number it would appear they are heading out of a relatively quiet 2011 on something of a battle charge. The last in their flurry of releases comes courtesy of Wheel & Deal, the label fronted by Rinse stalwart N-Type. Having celebrated their first anniversary in the last year with a banging retrospective, plus some essential new slices from the likes of Kutz & Ben Verse, Wheel & Deal have been working on a release schedule nothing short of militant. Here Truth bend their sound furthest from their usual template with the Decoda collab 'The Emperor' on the A side and the Dutty Ranks assisted 'Calling You Back' on the B. 'Emperor' is a heavy hitter of a track in the mould that Wheel & Deal never seems to get wrong, and carries a subtle 80's schlock gore film vibe in its synthesizers, guaranteed to crack a smile, if, somehow, the bonkers hair metal guitar intro fails too. On the B slightly less bonkers but no less effective is 'Calling You Back'. Again it retains all the weighty sub action Truth are known for, this time applied in a chilled paean to the garage sound that was probably rumbling out of a Vauxhall Corsa near your local Sainsbury's car park in late 2001. Actually, it's not at all like that sound. That sound was most probably pudgy rat-faced cupboard spawned sputum Daniel Bedingfield trying to get "thru" something... Possibly dyslexia. Regardless it certainly harks back to the Garage sound.

Hench come swaggering back through your speakers too this week with a slab of wax that, as is token of the label, aims to make a mess of club dance floors and sound systems alike. Label kingpin Jakes returns with the 'Nightmares/Skylark' 12" and, in the proper context (not the adjective evasive manner chucked about on most Soundcloud comment pages) is actually quite dirty. B Side 'Skylark' is another keeper for the cheeky 8-bit fans, all squeals and wheezes something like digital helium being air blasted down your ear and guaranteed to make thoroughly pissed students all take their shirts off and hug (but don't hold that against it.) The real jackpot however is 'Nightmares'. Starting off with a slate heavy bass line something like Jakes sound filtered through the boards of an extra aggressive Coki piece. Things only get more ridiculous as regular collaborator Breezy steps on the mic with some guttural toilet talk of masturbation, mutant hands and tramps. With lyrical content such as this I was bound to get all misty eyed thinking of Great Yarmouth Wetherspoon's lavatories and was guaranteed to recommend this to all my friends. It's like an auditory postcard from my puberty. Emotional. Oh and dutty or filth or whatever blogging Luddites inappropriately say. Personally I like "indisputably uncouth"...

Creeping into the murky bowels of this week's literary ramble, courtesy of Punch Drunk Recordings, is 'Intrusive Incidentalz Vol.1' by Ekoplekz (pictured). For those not familiar with Ekoplekz his sound is something of an anomaly, even by Punch Drunk's varied standards. Part industrial noise, part electronic drones, with the occasional 'found sound' or field recordings all mashed through a particularly murky dub-wise filter, it certainly won't be in the 'easy listening' section of any record shop. Titles such as 'Critical Condition' and 'Stahlman Gas' infer some fairly obvious stylistic clues as to the sonic territory this album is treading, what with the whole thing swamped in dread filled reverb, distortion and flat-line synth sounds. As well as the vast, dead space tension of those compositions there are also the claustrophobic, throbbing aural assaults of tracks such as 'Psionik Trance' and 'Soviet Drum Brain Attack' and the frantic percussive barrage of 'Clodsteps'. Sonically the closest comparisons you could draw to 'Plekz work would be the more freeform end of Mordant Music releases (a label that have released Ekoplekz in the past) or the more intense drone elements of Roly Porter's recent LP Aftertime. Admittedly you might not feel the spirit of James Brown get up on your thang after sitting through the whole record, but much like those half witnessed recurring dreams you are sure mean something but can't quite fully grasp, this record keeps coming back to play when you'd probably rather it didn't. Not unlike those cursed tax forms either... Enjoy?