- Samuel Kerridge has made a name for himself with his stark, skeletal vision of techno, often bending 4/4 conventions into more forceful sounds. Influenced by post-punk and doomy drone as well as underground dance music, Kerridge harnesses their power through efficiency. This approach shaped his third album, Fatal Light Attraction, which premiered at Berlin Atonal 2015 as a collaboration with Andrej Boleslavský and Mária Júdová. The pair had pitched their idea of a lighting system that would react to an audio source in real time, operated by live coding. Kerridge was into it. "Visuals can distract but lighting can be an extremely powerful tool," he recently told The Wire, "So I'm more keen on manipulating a light source to stimulate and enhance the experience." As always, he'd do whatever it took to evoke a visceral sensory reaction, with no distractions, no extras.
Fatal Light Attraction is an incisive and physical record, best listened to loud but still striking when quiet. The first staggering moment arrives with "FLA · 3," which makes you feel like you're leaning against a door being hammered with a battering ram. It's a track of relentless kicks and uneasy respite. Kerridge revisits those ideas on the final track, this time using his synths to apply pressure as things progress. By contrast, "FLA · 4" is more probing than penetrating, its pattering kicks like footsteps across a factory floor.
"FLA · 1," which features the artist Plagium, is a good introduction to Kerridge's textures, which are largely made with custom-built synths and instruments. It's a bumpy but propulsive ride through static noise, whistling kettles and digital distortion. Even in synth-heavy moments, like the second half of "FLA · 6," Kerridge's atmospherics are torn and lean, deftly sliding between synthetic and organic sounds. At their best, these passages catch you in a trance of fascination. At their worst, like on the ponderous "FLA · 5," they're completely blinding.
Like Boleslavský and Júdová's visuals, Fatal Light Attraction is monochromatic, and fairly disjointed, too. But what it lacks in colour, it makes up for in clarity and precision. As such, it offers few surprises, at least in the context of Kerridge's body of work. But that makes it all the more powerful. More than anything else, Fatal Light Attraction relies on good craftsmanship to rattle the senses.
01. FLA · 1
02. FLA · 2
03. FLA · 3
04. FLA · 4
05. FLA · 5
06. FLA · 6
07. FLA · 7