Friday, 3 December 2010


ISVOLT - A DISARO Compilation
Robot Elephant Records

This is the long-awaited DISARO artists compilation, released on London's Robot Elephant (run by the God Don't Like It guys), and if anyone approaches this thinking it will explain Witch House to them in one sitting, or offer them an easy in to the genre they're going to come out the other side even more confused or worse, more mentally compromised, than when they went in. This is a prism to fracture their preconceptions into seven shades of black light (or nine, if the analogy covers ever track on here) and drops subtle clues that there's a whole lot more to discover. No answers here, although this is a genre that constantly poses more questions and throws up more conundrums as part of its raison d'etre. This is essential, let's just make that clear right the now. As a guide to a genre it's a peerless companion to the multitude of mixes and blog comps out there, and as a label overview, its flawless.

Starting with the unholy blackened cacophony of †‡†'s Misery Walk it drops straight onto the beat with the scenery smashing bass howl of Party Trash. A bottom end that sucks up all the attention, bowling over the lightly played primitively pretty keys that would pick out a straight melody if they weren't getting blasted into a spidery scrawl. Next up it's the Arctic warehouse euphoria of Fostercare's Cold Light a track every DJ should keep in their box, the stuttering hi hat, echoic vocal exhortation and constant threat of a massive peak breaking out at any time cold be dropped into any set to redirect it and leave the field open to all sorts of directions out of it. Immense. //TENSE// sound like an overly buff IDM Blank Dogs. That deep lunged Ian Curtis intonation, sombre, but earnest and fronted by a muscular petrol headed throb that surrounded that metallic piston melody and oiled rhythm, the whole track unnervingly dirty, masculine and fetishistic. It's a sound that follows through into a more streamlined feminine version in Modern Witch's Your Life's A Movie, which flows along clean, supple lines but still retains a feral presence. Mater Suspiria Vision provides a rush trademarked ghost-drone, with possessed, shackled voices, chained to a bed of needling synth lines that overlap and slither forward into ///HORSE MACGYVER\\\'s Nod; one of the most invigorating artists, and the more ridiculously competent at conjuring a sense of dread from a few minimal tones drawn from short-circuited noise boards. Finally, and quite prominently, Raw Moans horrible ballad seals the set. Which is to say, it's a ballad in the style of, say, George Michael, but with a discordant atonal melody running at odds to the sighing vocal harmony, with the space in between filled with an aviary of mechanical birds, or a cave of robot bats,depending how occulty you want to take it. It's not occult at all, it just sounds healthily wrong, and a such is a fitting kiss off to the years most welcome label slash scene primer.

The album is released on Monday and to celebrate Robot Elephant are bringing Mater Supiria Vision, Fostercare and Robert Disaro to play the launch party at The Den + Centro. Pretty incredible line-up.

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