- The steady hardening of AnD's music over the past two years or so has certainly worked in their favour. The Mancunian duo had been around for some time prior to 2012, but this race towards gurning singularity seemed to capture a general mood—one also being explored by the likes of MPIA3—and their profile rose accordingly. Still, nobody seemed under any illusion as to the limited shelf life of the harder-harder aesthetic. In the past year, alongside boshing fare for Ann Aimee and their own label, AnD released the Bow EP, which explored more restrained glitch-textures and came with a "decomposition" from computer music vet Russell Haswell.
To an extent, Kundalini, the duo's debut for Speedy J's Electric Deluxe label, continues this tentative search for a new direction. More significantly, though, it indicates just how dull their more aggressive material can be when executed without flair. "The Jellyfish" and "Dysekt" are tough-as-nails, with the usual redlining synths, ranks of hi-hats and enormous kick drums. What's missing is the ragged intensity of AnD's best material; in its place is methodical filter-work and a formless density of arrangement clearly aimed at big-room use. "Dtadtmat" is a little better—mainly due to the molten growl of its low-end—but there's still a sense of grinding inevitability to the way it unfolds. It's only when AnD abandon the shock-and-awe that they make any real headway. "IcDbYc" is a kind of scorched-earth downtempo, its odd, guttural bass textures outlining a loping groove under layers of thoughtful soundscaping. Ten minute closer "DTR," meanwhile, is a leaden drone piece of sorts. Both represent a refreshing recalibration of priorities—even if they are several minutes too long.
A The Jellyfish