- The artwork from Whities 011 by Calum MacRae, AKA Lanark Artefax, shows two images. In one, young people clamber over a car and upturned concrete as they approach a whirlwind. The other is a meteorological diagram of that same whirlwind, with arrows illustrating the wind flow. In a similar vein, you could absorb MacRae's music one of two ways: with awe at its emotional force, or with fascination at what makes it work.
Underneath distended beats and tonal spasms that recall Autechre and Aphex Twin, vocal collages and synth melodies glow softly. The music, full of displaced drums and vocals, sounds like it's trying to escape itself. The restraints are particularly tight on "Hyphen To Splice," in which vowels, drums and synths stutter in jump cut-style progressions. That energy turns inward on "Flickering Debris," where strobing noise and choral melodies occupy opposing corners, mediated by weeping synths.
If last year's skeletal Glasz EP foregrounded the knots and acute angles of MacRae's music, then Whities 011 examines opposing moods and textures. It's optimism versus melancholy, organic versus synthetic. The UK club styles on Glasz survive on, say, "Hyphen To Splice"'s pastoral grime synths, but the feeling across MacRae's latest EP is more elated. "Touch Absence"'s tuned bass drums pump against angelic tones in the style of Aphex Twin's Syro. In the vocals and strings of "Voices Near The Hypocentre," MacRae's music is at its most transcendent, but the sense that things could turn awry is never far away.
A1 Flickering Debris
A2 Touch Absence
B1 Hyphen To Splice
B2 Voices Near The Hypocentre