Ooooph! Crucial sonics from Kerridge & DVD Damas Taylor Burch – finding a very welcome home on Downwards.

7 cuts spread over 2 plates – this is a real treat. Fractured techno frameworks laced with spoken word passages, serrated breaks & haunting chords – A bit of a gem this album. Skirting the fringes of techno and current dancefloor abstractions from the likes of Different Circles and the like – it’s challenging gear that rewards heavily for those willing to take the trip.

‘Sam Kerridge meets Taylor Burch (DVA Damas) for a surreal, slowly encroaching album of hyper, scudding, industrial music with vocal narration in spacious, theatrical space. The effect is something like listening to Autechre’s Anti EP intersected with shards of broken junglist edits and overlayed with a dystopian, bladerunner-esque vocal inspired by Jean Cocteau. This one benefits strongly from volume – play loud.

Opening his sound up to kindred spirits, and allowing more space and time for his sounds to take hold, ‘The Other’ locates a newfound sense of nuance and context in Kerridge’s music. His arrangements here feel more layered and ductile, finely consolidating the gloomy slow pressure of his earliest work for Horizontal Ground with the uptick in pace and rabid energy found on 2017/2018’s ‘The Silence Between Us’ and ‘The I Is Nothing’. The adaptation is necessary as the music now accounts for half of an AV live project with Daisy Dickinson and also needs to accommodate Taylor Burch’s startling vocal delivery. In the process Kerridge is pushed to rethink and reframe his sound after seven years squashing and pummelling listeners into submission.

As Taylor Burch takes centre stage in the narrator’s role, Kerridge becomes a kinetic presence, navigating her thru the tightest ginnels between cinematic sound design, industrial techno, broken D&B and dark ambient, or setting her in stark sonic lighting and backdrops like a dramaturgist watching from the wings. Kerridge’s impulses are reassuringly aggressive, but he’s clearly taken the opportunity to step back, review his sound, and recalibrate the mechanics, returning industrial music back to a multi-sensory conception of theatre and ‘The Other’, rather than straight-up sensory immolation – which is still key to his music, but now tempered and balanced with more complex ideas in mind.

From the hybrid of icy vox with billowing tech-step bass and scudding percussion in the opening piece, thru the finely executed nods to classic mid ‘90s Autechre in ‘Transmission 5’, to the hyper, side-winding brilliance and synapse-firing intensity of the final ‘Transmission 7’, longer term followers of Kerridge’s work will be rewarded in spades with this thistly bouquet, while newcomers will want to dive into his swelling catalogue.’

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