Music has the propensity to grab. Grappling hooks unleashed from folds in between the melody like the quick-fire actions of some docking sci-fi automation, fibres of intrigue and wow that hit the listener unawares. That first jolt – obviously I wouldn’t know from my own personal experience, but I imagine it’s akin to the spike of drug high, a sudden consciousness transfigured into aural terminology, then transcribed by the diodes of our head think into a musical high that’s sheer and wonderful.
It’s always been so. Watch archive footage of Prokoviev, then tell me that he wasn’t wired to the gunnels.
Below the words: two tracks from EP2, the current White Cascade release. One of the perks of editing a music blog is that, once word gets around, record companies and other internet woodland folk send you free music – the flipside being that these “presents” are delivered under the tacit expectation of a positive review, and I’ve listened to enough underwhelming slabs of unanimated stereo wallpaper for any novelty long to have worn off with that game. Hence I nearly didn’t bother powering up this particular mp3 collection; to say I’m glad that I did are the mechanics of understatement.
Only five tracks, yet EP2 is a stun gun of a record. Seductive and pinioned to an ambitiousness of angle, there’s something that detonates across perception in all of this, a series of tautly clever poses that resonate, not once overstaying their welcome despite each track clocking in at serious minutes.
The specific ideology that drives EP2 forward is all to do with a structured delineation of contrast, influence pulled from a catalogue of thematic inflexions – intelligent electronica, krautrock, shoegaze, post-rock – and in less capable hands this scope of execution would imply folly. But there’s zero risk anything ungainly occurring here; this is a record that treats these stock genre stylings as a base camp, that moment of acclimatisation prior to sonic assault.
Thus: ’30 Seconds’ begins life a Joy Division vignette before channelling the spirit of a retro-future West Berlin. Only once ‘You Got It’ has drawn the listener close does it reveal its androgynous dancefloor permutations, reminiscent of Underworld at their absolute sharpest. ‘Candy’, a firmly-rooted swirl of 90’s bliss-pop only happy to reveal a heightened bite when you venture near. ‘Slow Crush’ eschews affiliation to some overt sense of melody for a gravity well of obtuse, weighty angles, drenched in glorious reverb. ‘Again and Again’, the spikiest synth-pop the 80’s never yielded.
Dexterity is the key-word here. Reams of movement that compel multiple listenings. This isn’t a music blog that overtly concerns itself with record reviews – my brain patterns are too devoted to the tangential approach to sound to bother with rating most stacks of fresh-in vinyl. That for once I’m not only rejecting any default position but vehemently enthusing should tell you just how wonderful this record is. Buy it. Now.
White Cascade / 30 Seconds
White Cascade / You Got It