- For a long time, DJ Spider's music didn't stray far from the lab. Mostly confined to his own family of labels, his strain of New York house was able to develop and mutate. Since 2013, it has spread virus-like across the Atlantic, breaking out on labels like The Trilogy Tapes, Killekill and Nord. Upon The Gates Of The Great Depth is Spider's first album since this minor epidemic got underway, and it reflects the ways in which his music has changed during that time. Not much, as it turns out, but that's no bad thing.
Spider's world is a grim place, filled with prophecies of societal collapse. There's a track here called "Dystopia," whose sampled jazz chords jangle uneasily against a charcoal backdrop. Over the top, a sampled monologue tells of a man's simmering rage: "It's just a question of when is this going to erupt, and upon who is it going to erupt." Spider cuts in similar voices throughout the album, and sometimes his proselytising feels a bit heavy-handed. He appears to subscribe to the kind of ultra-paranoid conspiracy theories found in the darker corners of the internet, and on tracks like "New World Resistance" it can feel like the music is taking a back seat to his doomsday proclamations.
More sparingly applied elsewhere, these themes suit Spider's style nicely. His music is an apocalyptic vision of New York house, its sensuous chords soot-smudged and half buried in debris, its swung groove reduced to an uneasy twitch. Being, by now, an expert with the form, Spider takes it in a variety of directions. Tempos range from the sultry trudge of opener "Lucifer Rebellion" to the insectoid scuttle of "My Phoenix Rise." The mood, while always dark, can take on soulful shades ("Mysterious Structures On Mars") or even bleaker ones ("Hungry Ghosts," which sounds like a more decrepit Marco Shuttle).
Most of these tracks are as rich and absorbing as anything Spider has made. Even so, his rather limited toolkit can become tiring over the course of an hour, and a few moments of beatless noise are a welcome diversion. The catastrophic "High Level Violence" lifts the album out of its slightly lacklustre opening and dumps it into the excellent "Misanthropy." Closing track "Post-Human" sounds like the wind howling across an empty landscape, as if Spider's nightmare predictions have come true and there are no humans left.
A1 The Lucifer Rebellion
A2 My Pheonix Rise
A3 High Level Violence
B2 New World Resistence
C1 Mysterious Structures on Mars
C2 Mysterious Structures on the Moon
D1 Hungry Ghosts
D2 Tribal Mechanism
D3 Post Human