[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
I have now returned from the nether regions of the mind, this new album from Sluggart is officially the deepest dub based album I have ever heard. At points, the sheer saturation overwhelms the sound field and my headphones threaten to burst right out of my ears. It would appear to this correspondent that for his follow up, Sluggart chose to drench every last available millisecond in choking blend of reverberations, overlaying beats that don’t simply drive the songs, they take them out back and strangle them. No, you won’t be disappointed by what’s going on with ‘Slumberless’ and if you are allow me to direct your attention to the ranting, raving hordes utterly smitten by the latest Aphex Twin. Run along and play with them, there’s nothing to hear here. Nothing at all.
Just the frontal lobes of your brain being battered and delicately slow basted in the marinade of elements which Sluggart has in his arsenal of sound. Quite the leap in styles, I have to say; this is a slow, grinding fuck up against an unforgiving coral reef. You could also look at as being smothered by the smoke and debris of a thunderous explosion coming from an electrical relay station after it’s been decimated by a lightning strike. For me, this one has yet another facet to it, an eminently sinister and brooding one: this is the surface of the collapsed star at the heart of a black hole. While ‘Slumberless’ plays out we get to walk through this foreboding landscape shrouded in shadows; watching the universe around us be torn to shreds… these hymns it sings are the screams of total implosion.
Know that between the dreams you guard so zealously and the bubbling undercurrent of your subconscious there is another layer to reality. A layer which Sluggart have somehow now managed to access and document in unflinching, graphic detail. These pounding waves of heavily amplified bass nearly black out the entire experience but around them the fluttering signs of life manage to endure, wickedly processed voices taunt us just beyond the range of comprehension; I had a great time listening to his first record on Xtraplex but with this one I have to look around corners and continually wonder if I’m really alone. This is still a work of demanding exactitude but the axis of composition has been shifted; what appeared to be melodies aren’t, where I expected colorful bursts of electronics there are jagged bones of rhythm jutting out of the song structures with a gleaming vengeance.
I’m wondering what the objective might have been, I hear faint echoes of what he’s done previously but they’re only allowed to do so in order to lure you further inside this glittering array of… of… god only knows, I have given up trying to depict the inner workings of this supremely hostile creation. ‘Slumberless’ is the voice which comes up sleekly just behind your ear and breathes hotly down the nape of your neck. It’ll leave you breathless and all those hairs will stand on end. It is that voice rising up out of an inky, impenetrable blackness which taunts, tantalizes and terrifies. I suspect it has always been there, buried just beneath the skin. Patiently biding it’s time until the day your world grows quiet enough for it to speak:
“I know your secrets,I know your wants, your desires; I know the darkest ones… the darkest ones.”
That is the message of Sluggart’s new record. Keep listening and it will root them out of your mind, no matter how hard you fight or what strengths you call upon to keep it at bay. One by one, it will expose them all.
Sluggart – Slumberless
Xtraplex Records, xpl019