THE ORIGINAL xin: Out now on Subtext Recordings is the debut from Berlin’s xin, To Shock the Sky and Shake the Earth. The digital-only EP includes five tracks, all under seven minutes running time each. Opening with the cavernous Black Light, Blind Fire. A avalanche of roaring, subdued drone cleanses the depths of background aiding and abetting the electric effects that cavort to the right and left channels. Yes, it has a parting-of-the-seas layout. While the ambiguous noises are delivered as a repeat knocking percussion, elsewhere is left a savvy sense of space and density, so the timbre is balanced and peculiar.
Their approach is to end and begin in a bit of torch passing bit of revelry between tracks, criss-crossing patterns but becoming distinctively new tracks, with strange explorations as arranged within the harsher edges of Aedes Splatter. Mind you, this noise is elliptical, and continues to be reshaped throughout, it’s not pure noise, its live sound sculpting in progress. For instance, on Garr there are flash-backs to early Autechre embracing stacatto electronics and what can only be described as spray paint beats. It also has the feel of just grabbing a joystick to engage in your favorite retro arcade game, just slightly darker.
For a leaner, softer pace along comes Sucker. If you thought this were going to become an ambient opus, think again, as a layered synth opens to a bass boom and scratchy effects. This track is unique, like dashing through a field of hard bamboo reeds while wearing armor, but its discordant structure has an asymmetry that will be off-putting to some until its transition into the title track and conclusion. On To Shock the Sky and Shake the Earth a repetitive ‘gas’ repeatedly emits, with a whimsical backdrop and layered, strategic percussion. It’s a toe-dip into the world of IDM without being dance-oriented or any pop pretense whatsoever (imagining what a remix might do here…). The track acts like a wheel hitting the road, moving on. Though its got all the atonal vs obtuse harmonics in its favor, it would have been best as the central track here as it has a mysterious nature. It’s an intriguing first taste of a striking new artist to watch.
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