- As half of defunct duo Walls, Sam Willis's early music sometimes felt shrouded and hard to reach. On Walls' self-titled debut, pretty kosmische sketches seemed content to wallow in a formless, euphoric mist. Follow-up album Coracle gently grazed the surfaces of songs like "Sunporch" and "Il Tedesco" with cosmic arps and modular distortion, and by the arrival of Urals those ambient daydreams were rendered in dark, stiff lines—Willis described it as a "curdling" of the band's sound.
Purple Caps' crunchy, totemic title track is typical of the EP that wrestles the baton from Urals: static is rolled into a grotty ball and tossed through a gauntlet of junkyard percussion and cheap plastic. But Willis treats these ugly sounds with care. There's an Ostgut Ton-esque sleekness to "Azimuth," but its gently crumpled edges are in keeping with Purple Caps' scruffy charm. Then there's "Q-Type," whose acid-scarred bass synths and doomy atmosphere are daubed with unexpectedly fun flourishes. (After the three-minute mark, a shriek signals a doubling-down on the frenzied percussion.)
After "Tides Of Lust," a muscular preface to "Q-Type" that first appeared alongside "Purple Caps" on a split-EP for Obsession Recordings, comes a remix by the other half of Walls. Under his Not Waving alias, Alessio Natalizia pulls the tangled synth lead through a suite of 909 percussion. The trick gives his remix legs as a DJ tool, even if it feels like a few too many ideas were thrown into the mix.
A1 Purple Caps
B2 Tides Of Lust