- The producer formerly known as Samuel has covered a lot of ground since 2014. His debut was relatively friendly Bristolian house; a 12-inch the following year, for Mosca's Not So Much label, was steppers' techno not miles away from peers like Batu; this year's Hessle debut as Ploy was something else. Then again, Samuel was in some way working towards the Ploy sound all along: traces of its gaseous textures, booming drums and undulating structures can be heard in all of his music. The Iron Lungs EP, for Batu's Timedance label, further explores a sound that's reaching a kind of maturity.
In doing so, this is the first of the producer's records that isn't a reinvention, and it lacks the room-dominating charisma of the Hessle record's highlights. But that doesn't mean the tracks aren't bizarre and often inspired. The title track is difficult to parse at first. Is it an extended intro? A lost musique concrète tape with a beat stuck under it? In the first half, a strangled percussion line slides slowly upwards in pitch over wheezing drums; after the breakdown, it's swept away by layers of shrieking feedback, dissonant chimes and what might be a voice moaning tunelessly through a spring reverb. These sounds cling to the drums like fog, making the whole thing opaque and mysterious. "Footprints In Solid Rock" is almost as strange, with groggy percussion loops shambling along at half-speed under yet more spooky melodies. In the middle of Iron Lungs is "Number 24," at first glance a reprise of the sturdier tribal techno of Hessle cut "Move Yourself." The beat is a tangled grid of shakers and percussion loops, carefully misaligned to produce syncopated delirium. But before long the dread sneaks back in through sweeping, dissonant drones, and it's tempting to stop dancing and go hide in a corner.
A1 Iron Lungs
B1 Number 24
B2 Footprints In Solid Rock