- Mumdance's experimental tendencies have been gradually surfacing for a while now. First there were the brain-scrambling beats on Take Time, and then came the largely beatless section of Fabriclive 80, which stared down any listeners who went in expecting grime. But most intriguing of all is The Sprawl, Mumdance's collaboration with Logos and Shapednoise that debuted at CTM Festival in Berlin early this year. That set presented the trio in embryonic form: there are a few flashpoints where everything comes together, but mostly it's three artists learning to work together. EP1 is their first actual release, and it sounds like they've had some good practice since that debut. This is snarling and confrontational music that throws techno, drum & bass and grime into a bubbling cauldron.
There are moments on EP1 when you can pick out the collaborators' individual voices, while at times they collectively create something entirely new. Opener "Drowning In Binary" is a good example of the latter. Its barely-there structure recalls some recent Mumdance material, but the harsh distortion and grotty modular synthesis is something else entirely. Things come into clearer view on "From Wetware To Software," where bright vaporwave synths drape crushing grime basslines—that's gotta be Logos, giving the weightless grime that he and Mumdance champion a whole lot of, well, weight.
On the lengthy "Personality Upload," the trio take those same tropes and run them into the ground. It's the most fierce and frightening thing to come from The Sprawl yet, and it sounds like they're making the worst noise they can drum up. "Haptic Feedback" is where the trio really gels. It's their most barebones track, but the most exciting—it feels like it's about to explode. The tension between the floating drums and roaring techstep basslines says more than brute noise ever could. It makes clear The Sprawl is about more than just making a racket—it's about three visionary producers seeing how close they can take their music to the brink while keeping it rooted in what they do best.
A1 Drowning In Binary
A2 From Wetware To Software
B1 Haptic Feedback
B2 Personality Upload