- Berceuse Heroique is a label obsessed with the dark sides of art, music and humanity. It's a tendency that's gotten the London imprint in hot water, particularly when a questionable tweet about stalking a woman led others to highlight Berceuse Heroique's equally dicey imagery on Facebook. That taste in violent, gruesome visuals also bleeds into the label's sleeve artwork.
One artist who pushes against Berceuse Heroique's dour aesthetic is Hodge, AKA Jacob Martin. His openly goofy personality seems like the furthest thing from the label's approach. Forms Of Life, Martin's second 12-inch for the label, is in turn unusually affirmative, from the title to the colourful artwork and the music itself.
"Burned Into Memory," the stormer that takes up the A-side, is Hodge in scorched earth mode: sinister strings are bolstered by a blown-out drum sample, all bathed in stadium-ready reverb. The title track sounds like bottled sunshine in comparison. It's a smooth Detroit roller in the vein of Juan Atkins or Galaxy 2 Galaxy, cushioned by a pillowy bassline, choral pads and vintage synth strings. Finishing off the EP, "He Woke In Darkness" is something in between, stern techno with a soft edge. There's a melody that sounds vaguely like a flute, and the Reese basslines gently curve downwards instead of rushing things ahead.
For many, the controversy surrounding the label will define it from here on out, while others are keen to move on or defend its decisions (tying themselves into knots arguing "the right to offend"). But one thing that hasn't changed amidst the scrutiny of the label's visual style is the music that underpins it. As Forms Of Life shows, it's as undeniable as ever.
A Burned Into Memory
B1 Forms Of Life
B2 He Woke In Darkness