četvrtak, 10. travnja 2014.

Killing Sound - Killing Sound (2014)

Kako je noć postala slavna.

"There's only one way of escape that I've ever discovered, and needless to say I haven't forgotten that. So now I wave my arm frantically at a passing taxi, fall inside, and tell the man to drive to the old address."

Oblique soundsystem murderers from Killing Sound, the trio of Amos Childs, Seb Gainsborough and Sam Kidel.
Members of Bristol's noted Young Echo collective, Killing Sound make their full recorded debut on this self-titled 2x12", its four tracks cut obnoxiously loud across four sides by Matt Colton at Alchemy, London.

Bristol's Vessel, El Kid and Jabu, part of the Young Echo collective, follow 2012's excellent Killing Sound tape for No Corners with this heavy doublepack for Blackest Ever Black. Described by the label as containing "four oblique soundsystem murderers", the EP is in some respects a bit of a side-step for BEB, edging away from their largely post-industrial and archival leanings in favour of something much more contemporary. Young Echo have had an incredible amount of press and attention over the last 18 months, testament perhaps to the rich and diverse number of projects its members have been and are involved with, as well their roots in Bristol's renowned soundsystem culture. But the material on offer here is quite removed from the classic dubwise aesthetic you might associate with the city, instead Killing Sound demonstrate an enviable amount of self restraint through four slow-building, widescreen productions. "Six Harmonies" is perhaps the most striking of the four tracks on offer, making use of Sino-signatures that evoke the spirit of Photek's classic "Ni-Ten-Ichi-Ryu", albeit shorn of percussion, instead engineering hi-tech ambience that leans on the simplest components - even a small shift in pitch at the very end of the track startles. "Thousand Hands' makes use of more obvious soundsystem archetypes, with dub stabs, electronic pulses and gunshots scattered throughout the track, yet once again the execution is measured and withdrawn, opting away from the obvious in favour of tense, atmospheric ambience. "Eight Methods" is more evocative and ordinary, a kind of looped, treated symphonic ambience you've probably heard many times before, while "Water Boxing" ends the set with a regimented percussive number that steers clear of obvious drops - once again to great effect. - Boomkat

Killing Sound is yet another outgrowth of the endlessly recombinant Young Echo collective; this time it's members Vessel, El Kid and Jabu at the controls. The shadowy, abstract aesthetic of the group's solo debut will be familiar to Young Echo fans, but here it's reduced to its barest essence. The resultant meditative assemblages, all tawny bell-tones and submerged percussion, find a suitable home on Blackest Ever Black. Still, the soundsystem values that animate many Young Echo projects remain central. These four tracks have been pressed one-per-side to a double-12-inch, ensuring maximum loudness and bass response. And musically, dub—both as process and as sound source—is a strong presence. "Thousand Hands" opens with arid skank-chords and bleeping sirens, joined in the latter half by what sounds like a machinegun unloading into a spring reverb. "Water Boxing," meanwhile, transforms what could be the crackle-strewn intro from an old roots reggae tune into a taut study in bass pressure.
Elsewhere the trio pitch for a more conventional sort of darkness. The monks-in-a-shadowed-abbey vibe of "Six Harmonies" feels a bit hackneyed, but the execution remains highly refined—which is particularly impressive given that these tracks are real-time performances rather than carefully assembled studio tracks. "Eight Methods" turns similar atmospheres to more exquisite ends. Hewn from a faded choral sample and a few mournful bass notes, it's reminiscent of Tropic Of Cancer at her sparsest. But rather than floating in mournful stasis, it steadily, almost imperceptibly, lowers in pitch, creating a sense of perpetual transience—a slow descent towards a moment of resolution that never comes. - 

If you're familiar with Bristol's Young Echo collective, you're aware of the fact that their creative output crosses stylistic borders with little apparent concern for trends or wider affirmation. For Killing Sound, a subsidiary trio of the core group featuring Seb Gainsborough (Vessel), Amos Childs (Jabu, Zhou) and Sam Kidel (El Kid), this sentiment rings truer than ever. Together they apparently possess a "sizeable" archive of unreleased material, as Gainsborough explained to the Quietus' Rory Gibb in an interview for The Wire last year, almost all of it improvised on hardware and instruments both bought and hand-made, and recorded onto tape.
Killing Sound have, however, remained frustratingly elusive with regard to released material. In 2012 they released 'Real Love', an 18-minute live jam on the B-side of a release for cassette label No Corner. Recorded in a damp tunnel somewhere in Bristol, it was a brutal exploration of sound, a cavernous off-kilter kick drum churning treacle thick distortion out into expansive space. With their brilliant new self-titled double 12" released, quite aptly for all its darkness, on Kiran Sande's Blackest Ever Black label, the group have come to embrace their privately established ethos - to draw together their individual musical interests whilst forcibly playing them off against each other. The result is a record that's haunting and delicate on the surface, but bristles with antagonism beneath, violence waiting around every corner.
The opening blow on 'Thousand Hands' certainly feels like a punch to the gut, even on the eighth, ninth, tenth listen. Much of this twenty minute journey is an exhaustingly physical one, and as listener you are consistently perforated with sharp jolts of noise; a pang of bass, a fizz of distortion here, a lone cymbal there. Here, during the EP's second track, insinuated violence begins with the odd ricochet of a shotgun descends into a scattering of machine-gun fire. It feels like an extension of the electronic pulses and subtler drum shots that rang out on 'Nexus', Killing Sound's cut on Young Echo's album of the same name released last year. While on that track they fluttered beneath glacial vocals, here they're brought to centre stage, with each punishing reload click triggering off percussive bullet salvos that spray over the ominous cymbal toll beneath.
Despite the blatant brutality and physicality, Killing Sound is as much a journey through emotional territory as it is about battering you senseless across four sides of vinyl. Falling beautifully between the guttural battleground of 'Thousand Hands' and sinister final track 'Water Boxing' is 'Eight Methods', which takes on a more profound, almost hymnal tone. Drawn out calls vibrate up inside your ribcage, suggesting a muffled underwater scream blurring in and out of focus, drawing the hairs on the back of your neck upright. They mirror the vocals on opening track 'Six Harmonies', but where those pushed outwards like sonar pulses into cavernous space, here they're a sticky binding agent connecting the other components together. The track made one of its first appearances on a Young Echo radio show late last year, still in its untitled form on acetate, playing out as a transcendental backing to intermittent playful bickering between its creators.
It's that good-humoured tension that seems to exist within the collective that emerges more clearly within these two 12"s, and their violent rebounding between styles allows the record to sit somewhere between the established genres it's inspired by, caring little for templates or boundaries. Killing Sound's tracks seem to refuse to be aligned to anything, at any given moment twisting and contorting away from your grasp. As a result, immersing yourself in them often feels as impulsive an experience as the improvisation process that created them. It's a piece of work that embraces contradiction, as much a celebration of life as it is about death, as cohesive as it is abrasive. At moments it's utterly beautiful, at others absolutely terrifying, and I defy anyone to listen to the closing minute of 'Six Harmonies' full whack on headphones down a dark enclosed side street without taking a few cautious glances over their shoulder. Killing Sound stands as a staple in an intriguing continuum of work, yet more proof that Young Echo are one of the most exciting and talented forces in UK electronic music today. - Sophie Coletta 

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