Brood Ma - Daze

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  • Lots of new hybrid club music sounds like Hollywood sound design put to a beat. James B. Stringer makes this explicit. His latest album as Brood Ma criticises the mass media's "current obsession with survival playtime," through which the imminent destruction of the human race is packaged as entertainment in films and video games. Unfortunately, Stringer doesn't really have the technical chops to execute this idea. Compared to the ultra-HD foley found in your average blockbuster, his Tri Angle debut sounds like an amateurish mess. But the sense of clammy-palmed panic comes through loud and clear. Stringer's previous two releases have been described as "apocalyptic" and "dystopian," and Daze is his most convincing depiction yet of a hyper-technologised world meeting a sticky end. Its 13 short, chaotic tracks are segued together as if in a fever dream. Drums twitch convulsively like the bodies of grime and hip-hop in their death throes, melodies bubble up and then disintegrate, and synth horns belch ominously before being shredded in whirlwinds of digital shrapnel. Stringer's artist name comes from a novel by New Weird author China Miéville, and his productions view electronic music through a similarly "weird" lens. The old ground rules are warped or discarded; certainties melt away, leaving a mess behind. For most of Daze, this frantic thrashing around doesn't really go anywhere. Every track is packed with ideas, but heavy compression and the tinny graunch of digital processing algorithms give them all a flat, uniform sheen. It's not until track seven that something jumps out of the speakers: "Molten Brownian Motion," a turbulent ocean of sirens and jackhammer drums. Stringer keeps it up through the more melodic "Sex Compressor," which appears to sample "The Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)," and then "Sex Contortion," 40 seconds of pitch-shifted crowd noise that starts as a glutinous puddle and ends sounding like a thousand tiny people hammering on your eardrums. From there Stringer loses direction again. The sheer density of his music is its most interesting quality, but also a weakness. Like the panicked crowds filling the streets in your favourite disaster movie, Stringer's tracks run in a hundred directions at once and ultimately get nowhere. If we're all going to die anyway, then getting in a flap about it isn't going to help.
  • Tracklist
      01. Westerly Spawned Lamb 02. Be Yourself 03. Goldman Sax 04. Well Equipped 05. Hard Wear 06. Thorium Mox 07. Molten Brownian Motion 08. Sex Compressor 09. Sex Contortion 10. Dim Returns 11. Social Re Entry 12. Sacrificial Youth 13. Nrg Jynx