- The experimental scene's shift toward pop and dance forms has surely been one of the trends of the last year or two, and you could reasonably count Intersex, Heatsick's debut LP for avant-garde mainstay PAN, as part of it. Steven Warwick has produced longform Casiotone experiments on cassette and CD-R for several years. Recently, his sound has evolved into something more rhythmic, crystallized through a series of live performances and July's Dream Tennis EP.
True to its title, Intersex is an intermingling of drone, disco, old-school house and library music. Although it takes on a number of dance tropes, it feels sensible to think of it in terms of movements rather than as a series of tracks. Warwick's approach isn't exactly naive, but his experimental background is clearly a factor. For the most part, Intersex exhaustively wrings out its ideas, relying on sustained immersion instead of builds and breakdowns. Most of its changes are subtle.
The record begins with "Taxi Zum NO," which is essentially Warwick half-singing along to The Chi-Lites' lounge number "The Coldest Days of My Life." The track's campiness nods to his interest in examining the implications of "gay music." This is furthered in the abstract finale, "Vom Anderen Ufer"—easily passable as an underground film soundtrack, it closes with vocal cut-ups repeating the phrase "gay music." But beyond the way these tracks sit in a clear historical context, their "gayness" seems peripheral, and maybe this is the point. At the record's heart are simply grooves: asexual or pansexual, it doesn't really matter.
"Ice Cream on Concrete" is thirteen-and-a-half minutes of an insistent live bassline and bright Casiotone flutter, occasionally dappled with a spoken sample about "seeing the planet." "Tertiary" works with a similar format, but has a more mysterious, searching quality, particularly in the bassline, which its keys cascade headily around. Both pieces are marked with ramshackle, shuffling, somewhat tropical percussion. They're coarse and rickety, but this lends them a kind of endless primal funk that recalls vintage dub as much as house or disco. Intersex is both party and cerebral experiment, but this intoxicating midsection is where it really shines.
A1 Taxi Zum NO
B1 Ice Cream on Concrete
B2 Vom Anderen Ufer