Published May 02, 2019The phrase "deconstructed club music" may bring a weary sigh to many a purveyor of modern electronic music. Indeed, the style is certainly in vogue, brought about by a plethora of artists on a variety of labels, mostly based in the UK. It's not the most straightforward music to make, and even more significant is that it's often difficult to lend real cohesion to the style.
Understandably, that sounds like an oxymoron. Fortunately, some artists are very, very good at it, and LOFT's newest record, and departt from mono games, is an exemplar on how to make fractured music sound purposeful and emotive.
This isn't really a surprise, given Aya Sinclair's two excellent releases on Astral Plane Recordings and Wisdom Teeth. While and departt from mono games is similar to the previous two (and even her album of pop music deconstructions), it is distinct in that it more wholly embraces the unpredictability that makes the music so unique.
A product of "three years of instability," as she describes, the record's title perhaps tells a clue that this effort will be more detached from dance music traditions. In many dance-floor-aimed records, the lower frequencies are pressed to vinyl in mono, and played back on mono sound systems.
Ambiguity is the intention, with even Aya lending a mischievous yet tongue-in-cheek title interpretation on Twitter. What shines through with clarity is the sonic quality of the record, with "Lassanamae" beginning proceedings with warped ambiences and percussive sounds that appear to have been run through a grinder. It's brief and unnerving, but it resolves nicely into "And Eats Itself and Eats Itself and Eats Itself," with the first solid rhythmic canters of the record.
Even so, only the most adventurous of DJs would be daring enough to play this in a live environment, where bass slabs and kick drums propel almost arbitrarily along the grid. "sSLABicks" lies even further off the beaten path, with only a manic piece of arpeggiation gluing the thing together amidst a cacophony of growls and general percussive sludge. Occasionally, ambient phrases of optimism emerge, almost naively, amidst all of the chaos.
The final offering is "That Hyde Trakk," which is stunning by all accounts. There are shades of one of her previous efforts, "Funemployed," in the way that the lush chords shimmer above the quirk and fragmentation beneath. Here, however, Aya plays manic junglist instead, with a hefty breakbeat acting as prime propulsion in the track's six minutes. It becomes progressively more overdriven and mangled, eventually giving way to the shimmering pads that appear throughout the EP.
Composed during a transitional period in the artist's life, and departt from mono games is a reflection of the instability of self in musical apparatus. Truly, the highest of praise should be given to music that is an honest self-reflection: LOFT's depiction is as honest as it gets. Still, for all the chaos, Aya's music shows that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. (Tri-angle Records)