- Speaking with RA earlier this year, Hot Chip's Joe Goddard suggested that, since there is a finite number of danceable rhythms, club music may never again experience the Year Zero upheaval that characterised the birth of acid house, jungle or dubstep. But is that entirely true? Dance music is umbilically tied to its beat, but in its sounds there is still endless scope for creativity. The rise to prominence, in 2013, of various twisted formulations of techno is a case in point. The genre's sonic palette is being roughed-up by noise, and while there is no way of predicting how this might resonate beyond the underground, technoise is an interesting new moment in electronic music.
Ali Wells, AKA Perc, has been at the forefront of this shift, and Feral Grind, a compilation he put together with journalist and RA contributor Justin Farrar, is a remarkable introduction to some of the arthouse noiseniks infiltrating techno. Some of the names, such as Peter Swanson, may be familiar; many aren't. Nor is the sound they make. Noise implies confrontation and violence, but for all its distortion and metal-on-metal reverberations, Feral Grind is often beautiful. The great undulating waves of bass-hum on Hive Mind's "UX I" sound as sad as ships signalling to one another in a foggy harbour. Likewise, the chest-compressing density, splintered percussion and spectral loops of Housefire's "Electric Bathwater" produce something truly haunting.
This exchange of ideas between noise and techno isn't all one-way, of course—many noise artists are taking inspiration from club music, too. None of these 11 tracks are bangers, but it isn't too hard to imagine Swanson's "Pleasure Averse" filling a particularly demented, pogo-ing dance floor—its jackhammer beat is steady, and its squawking synths cling onto something resembling melody. Prostitutes' "Braces On My Fangs" is how a far more serious and cerebral Miss Kittin & the Hacker might have sounded.
Will we look back in a few years and see Feral Grind as the harbinger of a significant new movement? Who knows. In any case, one thing is certainly true: there is something very exciting happening at the fringes of the dance floor.
01. Housefire - Electric Bathwater/ Beachboyswhenyoudie
02. Prostitutes - Braces On My Fangs
03. Bleaching Agent - Yellow Corduroy Wall
04. Pete Swanson - Pleasure Averse
05. Trogpite - Trogdog (TV)
06. Profligate - Swarm
07. Henry & Hazel Slaughter - Breather Fat: Take Four
08. Burial Hex - Final Love (Feral Love Dub)
09. Mincemeat Or Tenspeed - Drooman
10. The David Russell Snake - Face It Fast
11. Hive Mind - UX I