- The day has finally come: Blawan and his hero Surgeon have collaborated. On paper, it's the kind of thing that should end the world, kick drums to displace the earth and blackened basslines to blot out the sun. Of course in reality it was never likely to end up as a techno pissing contest, and, true enough, the debut 12-inch from Trade sounds more like Blawan with help from his mentor than a drum machine apocalypse.
Like rusted barbed wire, these tracks cut and scrape at the same time. "Half Nelson" sets the tone appropriately by dragging a knife across your speaker cones. Like a particularly spirited leftover from Blawan's His He & She, this one hurtles stiff drums and menacingly mumbled vocals through wave after wave of screeching distortion and tinnitus-inducing shrieks. Notching up the tempo, "Positive Neckline" is considerably more melodic and certainly much faster. Balancing the EBM influence you always knew was there in Blawan, the punky descending bassline—like something the Buzzcocks would have written—provides something to latch onto amidst the careening machinery.
Like some malfunctioning carnival ride that just gets faster and faster, the flipside takes us through even harsher climes. The militaristic march of "Touch This Skin" is all portent and thrum with abrasive noise, while "I Notice You All" is just plain ugly. Matching its burnt-out textures with a swing that arcs at right angles, the EP closes on a note of deliriously pleasing carnage, two figures known for their sonic extremity taking the opportunity to beat their techno to a bloody pulp. Their veritable snuff film isn't exactly a new one, but it's fun to watch all the same.
A1 Half Nelson
A2 Positive Neckline
B1 Touch This Skin
B2 I Notice You All