Noisear "Turbulent Resurgence" (Willowtip): No Lay "Flowcaine" (Freshwave Entertainment): Forest People "Portal Grade" (Sick Weird Rough): Cortechs "The Last 13" (Steil): Kryptic Minds "The Divide" / "Rule Of Language" (Osiris Music)
It was inevitable that as soon as we praised the dry autumn weather, the tables would turn and the city would be deluged by full-force jets of skimming rain, (slam) dancing beneath a sea of rapidly-greying cloud. Thing is, though, we still don't mind, because we rather like *this* kind of weather, too: it just takes a bit more preparation on the clothing and accessories front. Plus, the new inclemency of climate has been soundtracked by the usual slew of somewhat terrific newies.
Noisear follow last year's whirlwind, "Subvert The Dominant Paradigm", with a new LP on Willowtip, "Turbulent Resurgence", and it's comforting to see that the New Mexico-born combo haven't lost their penchant for short, sharp blasts of grind-infused mayhem. However, there are changes at work. "Subvert..." was a many and varied beast, and while it boasted a generous 30 tracks it wasn't all a sprint: final 'tune' "Noiseruption" comprised twenty minutes of carefully orchestrated chaos (perhaps a companion piece to Brutal Truth's equally conspicuous experimental epic "Panic Room"). It seemed designed not so much to subvert any passing dominant paradigm as to drive it gleefully off the nearest steep precipice.
On "Turbulent Resurgence", though, there is a remarkable consistency of vision: over the course of 18 unrelenting minutes (yes, the whole LP is shorter than "Noiseruption" was) Noisear furnish twenty "proper" tracks plus instrumental intro, outro and mid-LP "intermission". The pure relish with which the foursome plough fearlessly through these songs, hackles up and heads down, is a little reminiscent of Wormrot, true, but in terms of the actual music, well: there are myriad flashes of Gridlink's high-tensile trebliness (if offset by fine, gargled, low-end cookie-monster vox); there are plenty of detuned riffs, where mathgrind-meets-death before both are swept away by the sheer pace of the thing; and on the shorter songs the embers of hardcore punk still burn bright ("There Is No God", for example, could be Noisear joining the mightily fine Scapegoat in their rather effective Crossed-Out worship). As each song buzzes merrily to a close, to be instantly replaced by another chunk of trilling 45-second grind, you never find yourself tempted towards the "skip" button. The lyrics and sentiment throughout are spot-on too. Particularly in the light of our somewhat lachrymose post in the summer about the relative disappointment of Phobia's "Remnants Of Filth", "Turbulent Resurgence" is tremendously welcome.
The sublimely talented No Lay you know, and "Flowcaine" is eight proper songs from the rightly Minaj-doubting Londoner, obtainable for an extremely competitive £4.49 via a certain well-branded online music store. While Ghetts - there's a blast from our reviewing past - turns up briefly as a star turn on the diverting "The Jungle", the killer cuts for us are the opening, Limelight-produced "Below Zero" and the head-turning old school bouncer "The War", which comes closest to the brilliance of her recent "Off With Ya Head" single.
It's a long time since a grime record has been so consistent over even this many tracks (consistency from any UK rhymer over full CD or mixtape length is, I think we've all accepted by now, just never going to happen): "Flowcaine" is *important*, next-level proof that No Lay has been quietly building up a fully bulletproof repertoire, rather than her typical contemporaries' modest palmfuls of ephemeral crossover hits.
Nowt to do with much-missed Bristol indie royalty Forest Giants, Forest People are (well, is) in fact one Dragan Lakic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, with his first outing for that label we go on so much about. Our favourite record of his to date, "Portal Grade" is a convivial serial beat-wobbler, a neatly-styled slice of engaging minimal techno that carves synth-addled vapour trails through a dark sky of cloudbusting percussion.
And the Rhine-Ruhr's empiricist sound-collager(s) Cortechs are *back*, with an EP on local label, Steil. Lead track "The Last 13" is maybe the best Cortechs single since hometown-ode "Cologne", which you'll recall was
"exceedingly fine, a pitter-patter of syncopated techno percussion underpinned by heart-monitor beep and cuddlesome synth dynamics"
not least as it's combined with a shapelyand areodynamic Niereich remix (mind you, the remix gets a bit disconcerting when the handclaps come in, because they don't sound entirely unlike the legendary intro to Rose Royce's "Car Wash". We'd like to listen to more of Niereich's stuff, but he releases so much of it that we genuinely aren't sure there are enough hours in the day for *anyone* to listen to every track and remix he puts out: perhaps, as a human race, we ought to put together some kind of rota so we can, at the very least, report back to each other on which tunes to buy). More robust and muscular than "Cologne" or "Slow Wave Sleep", "The Last 13" perfectly complements the streetlamp-lit clean lines of the maze of housing estates we navigate on the way home.
The steady stream of bangers from Kryptic Minds shows no sign of abating, either. While last single "Idiom" was
"a huge booming bass pulse, interwoven with quickfire synth burble for maximum dancefloor succour"
and its equally electric B-side "Breach" veritably ripe with brisk techno stylings, their powerful new 12" expores two more directions, with equal style. "The Divide" feels almost as grime as it is dubstep: a dungeon bass hybrid born from the same rippling promise as those Rephlex compilations a decade back, and pivoting on clinical shuffling rhythms that chart a journey through '00s south London with some panache. "Rule Of Language", on the other hand, sees the duo back to what they do best: a solid serving of darkly forbidding halfstep with a hint of menace and an aura of possibility. It's alternately thrilling and chilling. An edginess that fits the current weather like a glove, especially as the first wintry winds mass, ready for attack.
In fact, all the songs mentioned in this post are trinkets of joy that have grown on us as we've negotiated the vagaries of this jinking, austere, beautiful but increasingly rainy autumn. We surmise that many in the indie-pop game still prefer "super sunny summers" hands down. But the wonder of nature is all around us in autumn and winter too, you know. It's just.... how a coating of snow makes the evening bright, the roads aflame as the lamplights reflect the white. Hiding inside is no substitute, especially when technology lets you take the music with you.
So, just like the 'Brides, we *refuse* to be shut in.