- A thrilling meditation on the weirdness of now.
- Across five albums and over ten years, Lee Gamble has become one of the hardcore continuum's deepest thinkers and keenest stylists. Having distilled the beloved jungle of his youth into a foggy beatless whisper on 2012's Diversions 1994-1996, the Birmingham-born artist most recently reformed rave into discordant, abstract shapes on 2017's Mnestic Pressure ("mnestic" meaning "of or relating to memory"). In A Paraventral Scale, the first in a series of three EPs, marks a significant departure for the long-time Hyperdub affiliate, his attention locked firmly on the present.
Gone is the intimacy and subjectivity of Gamble's previous memory-driven output. Absent, too, are the lopsided beats cloaked in a residual sonic gloom. Instead, fresh ambiguity is wrought from the "semioblitz" (a riff on semiotics, the study of signs and symbols), which Gamble perceives to be the visual noise of our virtual and urban environments. The result, surprisingly, is not a record of harsh overstimulation, but sleek, clean lines, disorientating at an almost imperceptible level.
Queasy, shapeshifting synths slide around "Fata Morgana" and "Moscow," rendered in a newfound sparkling high-definition. "Folding" twinkles pleasingly, its bleeps and bloops reflecting breathy, mirrored chords. "In The Wreck Room" gleams with a slamming electro beat that twists and morphs before finally collapsing under itself.
These compositions conjure not only the visual stimuli of modern life but the information-driven structures propelling it forwards. Gamble lets us peek into the internet's glittering architecture, the rush of information making the very foundation of reality shaky. "BMW Shuanghuan X5" hurtles down an interconnected musique concrète highway, revving and screeching amidst fibre optic cables. On "Many Gods, Many Angels," a shimmering melody bounces above a sea of crystalline drones, its title slyly nodding at the dissolution of old truths and the construction of a new technological order.
In A Paraventral Scale has made the abstract feel tangible. Like its cover—pristine, liquified metal—this music gives form to the smart cities and networked realities of the 21st century. The result is a thrilling meditation on the weirdness of now.
A1 Fata Morgana
A4 BMW Shuanghuan X5
B2 In The Wreck Room
B3 Many Gods, Many Angels