- Bandshell's Public Skin, his first EP since 2013, was released last year on the producer's Bandcamp before emerging on vinyl this month. (There is a suggestion another label had possession of these tracks before Bandshell released them himself.) The UK dance styles on Public Skin have drifted from the techno and UK bass hybrids of Bandshell's contemporaries (Hodge, Bruce, Batu) in distinctive ways. The techno references on, say, "Jepshastan" and "Bison Down" are more fleetingly expressed. There's a closer embrace of stepper's rhythms and, more curiously, of noise and melody. Public Skin's synths glow with a halogen-lit harshness.
A sense of distress is most acute on "S. Berserker." The synths and lasers sound like a dentist's drill. "Jepshastan" has the same fractious energy, where monotone synth stabs dissolve into fizzing pools of static. When Public Skin isn't twisting at agonising angles, Bandshell's music evokes a degree of toil. "Bison Down"'s drums land with the laboured thump of a blacksmith's hammer. "Heist Rims"'s hi-hats slice and whip. Public Skin has an undercurrent of violence, which extends to "Heist Rims'"s screeching intercom, beneath which there is indistinct chatter. Some serenity surfaces on the EP's closing track, "Panic Bull," where a solemn melody in the style of early Aphex Twin glides for 40 seconds. On an EP as restless as Public Skin, it's a welcome relief.
A2 Bison Down
B1 Heist Rims
B2 S. Berserker
B3 Panic Bull