G.H - Ground EP (Modern Love)
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Modern Love, and indeed much of the related material that emerges from the nothern techno axis; first hearing Neurofibro led to a fascination with Claro Intelecto, which in turn introduced me to Andy Stott's monolithic techno, and the surreal output of Miles Whittaker as MLZ and Pendle Coven. Lately, Demdike Stare's rusted and decayed drone compositions have dominated my listening, imbued with such a phenomenal depth of detail that I've found their albums impossible to move on from, and have left too many hours lazing in Hashashin Chant. This latest release from Modern Love features the other half of Pendle Coven appearing on his own for the first time, presenting three cuts of leaden-slab techno that revolve around the tension between a solitary bassline and a wildly malfunctioning tape echo device. Dark and experimental almost to the point of frustration, G.H. deals in Sleeparchive-influenced minimal grooves, dowsed in cobwebs and engineered to clinical levels. There's still a wall of noise there, but the majority of the noise comes from the subs and the rolling bassline, with the hi-end almost vanishing into nothingness; the epic breakdown on Ground emerges as the bass dissolves and a ray of high-end brightness breaks through, before dropping into the murk again. Albedo again bullies the listener with an omnipresent wall of noise, and sees G.H. referencing his Pendle Coven roots, sending a dubby stab trickling through delays and casting light onto the darkness. Despite the steady kick and warm chord, G.H. stays at arms length from the house-driven style of earlier projects, preferring to disconsert the listener with blasts of noise, dangerously constructed dynamics and continually garbled tape voices. Closing the record is the off-kilter Earth, which fires out the clearest vocal snippets, teasing a continual house vocal amidst a stuttering kick-drum and overloaded echo units. Despite being the most clearly developed track on the EP, its a little confusing - stopping and starting, disappearing in swathes of noise and changing focus a little too rapidly, providing an appropriately muddled, yet deeply infuriating finish to a fun little curio.