- With his partner Miles Whittaker off tracing ley lines with the duo Demdike Stare, Pendle Coven's Gary Howell sets off on his own blackened path. "Ground" is as elemental as its title, all seismic rumble and cavernous delay. The bass is so swollen that it all but loses any harmonic properties; faint banshee wails provide a hint of tone color, but otherwise, this is as dark as it gets, swallowing up all light like a black hole. After similar records from Giorgio Gigli's Zooloft label and Modern Love artists Miles and Andy Stott, I'm not sure that it brings anything radically new to the table, but techno miserablists who double as Sunn 0))) fans will find plenty of sooty seduction in the all-encompassing collapse.
"Albedo" trudges along even more slowly—94 beats per minute, by my count—but it's not as suffocating, with bright cymbal flashes illuminating the way, and a hard, flat kick drum beneath. It sizzles like an electrical short, fleshed out with metallic clang and bright, unlikely chords. "Earth" (a tribute to the Seattle doom-metal icons?) follows a similar formula, but it takes us all the way up to a comparatively sprightly 110 beats per minute. The stumbling cadence splits the difference between techno and bass music, with shredded vocals and sickly bass buzz, as nasty as Anstam's low end, leaning heavily towards the latter camp. As far as chopped-and-screwed industrial soul goes, it does the trick just fine.