7" EP CEIL024
the ceiling travel excursions
Side A: 1) Bleep 27 2) Kill.All.Scooter.Riders
Side B: 1) Green Lane With Delphium
Delphium keeps dropping out releases. A month ago I already reviewed the "Self vs. Self" EP and now there is already the follow-up EP. The Darkfloor EP has the heaviest sound I already heard of Delphium. Again there is much experimentation with rhythms. Rhythms where always seems to be something wrong with, the seem to ignore the logic of fhythms. "Bleep 27" plays in a strange an illogic way withe drum'n'bass. In "All.Scooter.Riders", the rhythms are very playful, almost like the Aphex Twin. On the B side we can hear a more normal and tranquil atmospheric drum'n'bass track
And Delphium, well Delphium just goes on, with his usual dark break-beats
and rough licks on the keyboards. 'Bleep 27' is a superfast track, like a
high speed train that almost goes out of track. In 'Kill All Scooter
Riders' the blasto's played on the synth, sound like gunshots hunting those
riders and has a likewise aggressive character. 'Green Lane With Delphium'
is somewhat slower in tempo but bears that same aggressive keyboard
patterns. Life is still grim at same ends of the world.
Frans de Waard
I need to mention up front that I am an unabashed hater of vinyl. I fucking loathe the stuff and only continue to partake at all because of a few choice consumables that are available in no other form. Lucky for me, the fine folks over at 'The Ceiling' have chosen not to force feed me their vinyl retro and instead delivered this here 'Darkfloor EP' victual in the form of a CDR. It's a good match actually, since I get the visual impact of the 7' sleeve but the aural purity of a digital medium. For the rest of you though, needle in V shaped grooves is the vehicle you will be riding.
Since the vinyl fetish is as much about appearance as sound, it's important to dote on the packaging just a tad. The cover art is a just ever so slightly unnerving combination of the officiousness of Times Roman merged with a bit blasted yet black ambient reminiscent slice of landscape. Understated definitely, and not fighting for prominence over the grooves inside.
The first track 'Bleep 27' is a blatant facewash of ash, gravel and CRT radiation. Not exactly a juvenille exuberance but still it does have the manic and attention sucking intensity of baby birds at 4:30am screaming their fucking heads off. In the definitive Delphium fashion the underbed is a self-deconstructing rotor blade of broken breakbeats, hissy reverbed reverb and sarcastically pushy synth swells. It's brash enough that it is almost a relief when the last sonic trail runs out, the 3 or four seconds of clicking and popping a momentary serenity before the next lesson begins.
The next two tracks are in reality on diametrically opposing sides but thematically they flow along the same latitudes (as my CDR copy demonstrated). 'Kill.All.Scooter.Riders.' is more than an encouragable sentiment, it's a damn tasty and thickly spread sauce of Boss SYB-3 sounding resonant twirps and Stomper thwaps, working over your IDM midsection with millisecond delay lines and consistently inconsistent yet steadfastly discernable beats. Not terribly broken this time out but there is still that stuttering monologue which runs through all Delphium tracks I have heard so far. The B side here is entitled 'Green Lane With Delphium' and again works the car commercial techno angle or perhaps even a Bailey's Irish Cream ad pitch. But it's not really a soulless commercialism that Delphium delivers - instead imparting a strange vision of decaying optimism and teetering affluence. It's the same BMW commercial you've seen a million times except that just over the horizon the bridge is actually out and if you look closely you can see flames tickling over from the back seat. It won't get you accepted into the anarchist squat but then again its suit is too crumpled to be allowed into the country club.
I like this brash yet demure collection but wonder whether the socially acceptable gloss is about to overtake the tension that keeps Delphium taut. Loss would be the overriding emotion if the script reads this way but until the billboards go up, the 'Darkfloor EP' is a welcome rest stop on the IDM freeway.
The Darkfloor EP is the most recent release by UK recording artist Delphium, a 3 track 7" released on the Canadian label The Ceiling. The release in some way acting as a taster for the forthcoming CD by Delphium as one of the tracks here will also feature there. The 7" starts with Bleep 27 a scathing tumble of sharp beats. This loops momentarily like falling downstairs before the solid bass vibe comes in. With the bass Delphium crank up the intensity, a dense ominous sound. The tatter of beats which evolve from the first sounds are tight and sparse. A higher toned layer comes in, with a frantic hint of possible melody. The piece works with these elements - keeping an intensity in sound but also a clarity that allows the details to be heard. Kill All Scooter Riders starts with a hard blip, looping as it allows an echoing trail and development. A tumbled snatch of taps provides a steady beat, one which comes across as more frenetic when combined with the bass pulse accelerant. The piece develops in a cluttered manner, hints of jazzy horn hinted and perverted. The sound provides a curious mass, elements congealing into a uniquely textured audio object. On the other side of the 7" is Greenlane With Delphium which emerges from radio chatter and hiss with a hesitant melody. Tight beats start to bring the sound out, and we know we've started when that bass lays out a foundation. The melodic vibe is more evident and developed here, while there are more pulses and strokes to go with that. The sound flows, stripping to raw beat before coming back up with a shifted emphasis. Later to strip to melody then returning with a piano like note structure - a more accessible hook within the vibe of the whole. Another strong release from Delphium.
DELPHIUM have joined the agitated frenetics brigade, and this three-tracker shows them as much as Noise Monkeys as they are riddim programmers. And these tracks are packed with noises - droning bassline, whining synth motifs and all manner of grizzle compete for pole position in a mass dogpile mix, all frantic to appear prevelant. It reminds me of people as varied as AUTECHRE, REGIS and my own ANTONYM's 1st CD. Busy, chunky, confrontational dance music with heaps of variety.
The third track which spans the second side is perhaps more passive, a more melodic although no less battering listening experience. Out of the three pieces here it is perhaps the more memorable with some nice lush keyboards and a distinctive sample motif.
Although the one-maned project known as DELPHIUM is usually categorised in the dark-wave experimental slow industrial rhythm section, the "Darkfloor EP" (released by THE CEILING) represents a new turn in the band's already varied discography.
This EP features three seperate pieces, each with its own clour and flavour, if you will. "Green Lane With Delphium" features very oddly cut-up drum-n-bass / jungle beats, with some phat and freaky synth lines and sequences to add more rhythmic dynamic to the mix. Slightly too off the edge to be anywhere club friendly. The other two pieces ("Bleep 27" and "Kill.All.Scooter.Riders.") feature more weird cut-ups and keyboard manipulation, but the techno-influenced beats are somewhat more straightfoward in their delivery. Yet, even with a rather "simple" and repetitive drum track, the songs can't be played in normal discotheques unless the DJ wishes to clear the room of all house-music lovers.
In essence, this reviewer can't really think of any other category to put this little gem into, but I have faith that people into a different, more edgy techno D&B will find this release to their liking. I certainly did!
GAZE INTO A GLOOM
The promo review on this release contend that Delphium's music was always "grustrating for critics, wonderful for the aurally adventurous..." If we'll try to unseal the "Darkfloor", we'll find inside cybernetic jazz with syncopated rhythms, Industrial and Rhythmic Industrial-style abrasive textures, and experimental cacaphony of electronic sounds. The variety of electronic sounds and styles is well mixed and compressed. Heavy electronic music!
No, the material on this three track seven-inch is not goth-informed dance music, as the title suggests, rather it's abstract breaks and sounds. Side one's "Green Lane With Delphium" has funky, hip-hop-style breaks with laser beam-like electronic noises over top and synth notes that are similar in style to the work of 808 State. On side two, the track "Bleep 27" has abstract drum & bass breaks with chaotic notes played over top and the sounds punctuated, or bludgeoned, by piercing alarm-like noises. The next track, "Kill.Scooter.Riders," has a bit more of an elaborate, improvised keyboard sound that sounds like Chick Corea after an automobile accident shake-up with frenetic breaks. The material on this album might be best compared to Toronto-based producer Oh No the Modulator!
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