28 June 2012
Perc - A New Brutality
Perc Trax latest EP is more of what you'd expect from the label that's established itself as the port of call for brutalist techno - unrefined, uninhibited, noisy and drug-fuelled sonic battery. From the no-signal tone that opens the record, and the sweeps of white nosie, to the double-kicks and murderous bassline, the title track is the kind of brilliantly devastating industrial techno that is to speed what The Melvins are to Afghan black. With a sense of mechanistic decay and corrosion seeping through, Perc pushes his meltdown to a place somewhere beyond the dancefloor, but with just enough to rythym and drive to keep it techno. Whilst Boy is similarly devolved techno, there's far more melody and warmth involved, and it with it's half-step and breakbeat influences, seems to be aiming for the kind of ground Surgeon occupied on last year's Breaking the Frame. It's on Cash for Gold and Before I go that Perc really comes into his own, displaying strong Cabaret Voltaire / post-punk influences and moving into the realms of experimental electronica without losing his techno grounding - the former sees Perc working his favoured brokenbeat style, with analogue bleeps and groans crafting a mournful landscape. The latter serves as a dark coda to the record, combining piano and organ chords with malfunctioning machinery and scratchy tape delay reminiscent of Max Richter. Both tracks apply a similar aesthetic of decay and antiquity via brooding melodies and lo-fi recording quality, and the end result feels like a silent film soundtrack, tying in with the starkess of the cover.
The title track may be AFX level of Rargh-techno masochism, but the 'new brutality' Perc unveils is more of the slow-burning, brooding emptiness than predictably unrelenting noise, and there's moments of beauty to be found in the darkness. One of their better releases.