The appeal of the debut EP from Detroit’s Feral Body lies in the tension between its rough production and its ghostly mood. Coarse and scraping blasts of rhythmic noise make up the backbone of the three tracks on offer here, but they lope along in a fashion that’s far more hypnotic than it is brutal. Opener “Flesh War” at first sounds as thought it’s preparing an all out assault, but instead gives itself over to its own internal pulse. The textures which echo around each beat on the EP are hardly polished, yet they connote a deep and spacey resonance which frames the whole affair in a contemplate and reflective mode. Dan Barret’s intriguing Ghosts in the Clocktower release comes to mind as a rare other project which conjures the same mixture of exploration and indifference as “Death Slip”. Vocals are mixed so low and blurry that they serve as shading, or connective tissue between between beats, rather than as an emotive or narrative thread. The EP clocks in at a brief sixteen minutes, but that’s more than enough time to communicate Feral Body’s hazy but steady aesthetic, especially when the atmosphere of each track is so thick. Refreshing stuff which is far less aggressive than one might suspect at first glance.
Do You Klack?
Whether for reasons of obscurity or indifference, new beat is a strand of electronic dance music that seems particularly resistant to revival. Maybe it’s the difficulty of capturing the quirky charm of the Belgian dance craze’s 80s originals, or the ease with which any song can slide into EBM or NRG, but very few artists have attempted or succeeded in recreating “the sound that creates a new dimension”. Enter Klack, the new project by Eric Oehler (Null Device) and Matt Fanale (Caustic), a loving new beat tribute that manages to summon up the jerky rhythmic charms of the style without stumbling into soulless homage. Each of the four tracks on the project’s debut release Do You Klack? treats the bassline as the be-all-end-all, slaving extensive vintage vocal samples and twinkling synths to the ever looping rhythm. While the title track and “Synthesizer (v 2.0)” cleave close enough to the classic belgian template – gratifyingly so – that they could be mistaken for lost Subway sides, “DMF” and “Coup De Grâce” use vocals from Oehler and Fanale to add some flavour. The former song takes on a more aggressive sheen, where the latter becomes a smooth euro slice of funky synthpop, somewhere between A Split Second and Taste of Sugar. Good stuff.