[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
A very pleasant surprise, this, a full length from one of the odder artists operating out there. As one half of the duo who co-piloted the glorious Skull Disco label, Appleblim demonstrated early on his chops in the production and imagination departments; who else could have held their own with the rabid electronic mutant stylings of Shackleton constantly evolving. Oh yes, this is a record of snappy rhythms and disorienting atmospherics but it is also quite lush. The grit and grime at the core remains but it’s had some wonderful embellishments added which bring out the skeletal programming splendidly.
As always, Appleblim keep the focus on the low end of the spectrum with multiple bass frequencies spawning off of one another; ever wondered just how far down the scale audible sound goes, pop this one on and discover the very edge of tonality. Why this one hasn’t yet worked with Bass Clef is a true mystery, between the two of them they could punch holes in any subwoofer they come across; as it stands the acrid hi hats and trebled percussive elements featured on ‘Life in a Laser’ threaten to take a piece out my system handily.
The emphasis is on mid range tempos, “I Think We’ll Let the Gas Sort This One Out” deconstructs and then reconstitutes a wide range of sounds with a sly editor’s touch; some of my favorite records are the ones which don’t even sound like music until everything is slowly compressed into a cohesive whole. Nice of him to take a bit of time out from running his label to give this to us, if you manage to sit still while listening you’ll have beaten out the other 99.99999999% of us because the funk he displays on each track is some of the most lethal I’ve heard in the electronic medium.
On the other hand, there remains that unsettling aspect to his designs which has been there from the beginning; if you wish to just zero in on the beats you can -god knows someone somewhere is trying to freestyle over “NCI”- but there’s so much more to discover. Like the slow burning beast which is “Manta Key” with it’s downtempo exercises in synthesis and skittery vocal samples or maybe you’d like to get lost in “Chrome Mist”. Point is, this is a varied record expressly designed to take you on a trip, a chance to wander outside the lines and see just how long you can keep up.