Listening to her latest album, Contraband, it's easy to imagine an elusive and secretive Missterspoon tinkering away on dusty modular synths in the basement of an abandoned industrial building. Seemingly set in a dystopian not-so-distant world, in which Bristol has decayed into a derelict shadow of its former self, the 12-piece epic soundtracks the life of a city in which the River Avon has turned poisonous.
Auditory mirages aside, Missterspoon embodies a mysterious musical scene lurking in real-life Bristol, in which she has thrived with soundscapes that oscillate between raw techno and dark ambience. Her work can be further explored on a series of Avon Terror Corps compilations, including Avon Is Dead, No Sleep ‘Til Avon and Avon Garde, which perfectly illustrate the dissonant, hard and industrial side of Bristol.
Contraband, served up on bright pink or "snot"-green cassettes sealed in reusable baggies, casts an unrepentant, unruly impression with its opener, "Deranged," a stomping monolith covered in a thick, oppressing layer of distortion. Heavy percussive elements follow in the first half of the album, from the cantankerous beat of "Last Lost" to the incessant pummeling of "Oh!"
Its second half explores Missterspoon's darker, more ambient side, starting with the track "The Same One," whose vast, deserted soundscapes bring some welcome space and respite. These tracks are more reflective, with a focus on smoky atmospheres and sulfuric beats, permeated by a subterranean dampness that culminates in the album highlight "Rites." Featuring Mama Matrix Most Mystical, this post-apocalyptic new age chant features distorted wind instruments that perfectly merge with otherworldly mutterings and vocalising—a ceremony for an industrial wasteland.
"Laux" and "Butane" follow, a slow release of dreamlike sounds reverberating through space, interspersed by stuttering beats and twinkling elements. "Marker," the album's longest track and its closer, is all restrained percussion and laser-like strings, a somber reminder of the journey the listener has embarked on, one that has reached its menacing, unavoidable conclusion. To listen to Contraband is to be plunged into the darkest of abyssal depths. Thalassophobics beware.
02. This And That
03. Last Lost
06. Something Else Entirely
07. The Same One
08. Grind Your Base
09. Rites feat. Mama Matrix Most Mystical