Following the Ground EP (2011) and roles in Pendle Coven and HATE with Miles Whittaker (Demdike Stare) and Andy Stott, Gary Howells unveils his debut solo LP on the omni-sinister Modern Love label.
The tools are limited here; just a Boss DR550, an old guitar and a bunch of pedals is all that Howells needs to present his study in monochrome while still exhibiting a highly diverse array of compositions that span proto-grime, techno, metal and noise.
Tracks such as Packhorse will even find usage in an adventurous DJ’s set, its half-there-half-not 125bpm pulse and lo-fi Filter Dread-esque bass all it needs to be a powerful bridge tool or set opener. Elsewhere, vocal cuts and incoherent babbling cross swords with primitive drum machine patterns and licks of guitar snippets painfully manipulated and morphed.
As always with the Modern Love label, imagery and musical content are intrinsically linked, evoking an intensely gripping – if at times oppressive – atmosphere. The intense crescendos and extended moments of tension call to mind the visual-sonic relationship of horror films and their scores, although to compare this LP to a horror film would be to do it a disservice – the moods are far more ambiguous here, and the immediate sense of menace is soon replaced by exhilarating intrigue.
Another hit from the Modern Love gang, and a highly promising Long Play debut from GH – highly, highly recommended.
Screamin Demon Pickups
Angels & Doormen
Devils Bit Scabious