JK Flesh - New Horizon

  • An exemplary techno LP from Godflesh's Justin Broadrick.
  • Share
  • Justin Broadrick has always been an electronic music artist, but as JK Flesh he's thrown himself into the scene like never before. Since reviving the alias in 2012, he's used it to crystallize his other influences—metal, industrial, dub, shoegaze—into techno. Releases for labels like Downwards and Speedy J's Electric Deluxe positioned him as part of the contemporary techno scene. With last year's Exit Stance, he made a shift towards groove and restraint, informed by the rhythmic gymnastics of Birmingham's '90s techno greats. His second album for Speedy J's label tugs on the same thread. New Horizon's power comes from Broadrick's textures and rhythmic contrasts. Take the wobbly chords and the sluggish bassline on "Different Species," which drag slightly behind the track's steady 4/4 beat. The drums on "Super Human" hold their ground amid quaking distortion and whistling frequencies. Tracks like "The Next Stage" and "Homo Sapiens" create menace with slower, mucky rhythms, as tough as any faster JK Flesh track. Where Broadrick once went for bludgeoning force, he's now going for unsettling moods. The LP reaches a fever pitch with "Genetics," which delivers a rush that rivals anything by UK techno artists such as Perc, Ansome or Truss, but it's Broadrick's sound design that really drives it home. "Genetics" is all raw, serrated surfaces and carefully arranged chaos. The same goes for "External Transmission Stage," which flails and writhes like it's having a panic attack. These two make for a fiery midsection that might have been overbearing were it not for Broadrick's clever composition and sequencing. The influence of dub underpins most of New Horizon, particularly the second half. "Macromolecules," "Earlier Form Of Life" and "Different Species" resemble dub techno, but batter the form into something ugly and misshapen. "Earlier Form Of Life" seems to accumulate layers of effects and other sonic detritus over its runtime. The lumpen chords on "Macromolecules" sound like they're coming from blown-out speakers, their midrange frequencies scooped out. Here, Broadrick establishes another ominous mood with a patient, understated approach. That's the biggest leap Broadrick makes on this record. His style of techno remains blackened by decades spent in the metal scene, but it's the use of silence and space, and the push-and-pull between aggression and restraint, that define New Horizon.
  • Tracklist
      01. Different Species 02. Super Human 03. External Transmission Stage 04. Genetics 05. Earlier Form Of Life 06. Macromolecules 07. The Next Stage 08. Homo Sapiens