When we last checked in with Andrew Dobbels’ XLV the project had taken on some more classically industrial ideas in contrast to the more glitchy and cut-up material of its earliest releases. New LP Dobbelyou continues in that vein, working with noisy, minimal sequences of drums and synths that grind and crunch their way through a saturated audio environment. Interestingly, a renewed dedication to rhythm means a lot of the material takes on the textural quality of vintage powernoise; see how the arrangement of kicks rusted-spring sequences that make up the whole of “The Place”, or the way that the syncopated beats on “Are You Going With Us” hammer the surrounding buzzing and hissing into a machined arrangement. Like all of his work, Dobbels’ ear for texture is keenly applied – sounds with seemingly overlapping sonic footprints are mixed to remain distinct, allowing for the busy electro-style drum programming of “Bifurcate” to chug along without turning into a mess of noise, or the ultra-minimal “Tensor” to tickle the ear with minor variations and peculiarities to jump out. Degraded by sound design, but never ill-considered or shortcutted, it’s a nice modern take on a classic industrial sound, its harshness belying the exactness of its construction. Buy it.
None Of Your Concern
Chicago’s None Of Your Concern have made a virtue of brevity since their emergence in 2020. Their total original output prior to the new Spectral EP might be able to fit on one side of an old Maxell 60 minute tape, but through quality control, an intriguing approach to visuals, and a beguiling musical approach, they’ve swiftly become one of the most distinctive new American acts trading in darker electronics. As with their debut Primer, Spectral brings together elements of darkwave, drag, EBM, and house, but as presaged by last year’s “Shut It Down” NOYC are pressing those sounds into tighter and more claustrophobic packets. A savvy trade-off is made in the super short run time of each of the EP’s four tracks – no sooner has the wormy and labyrinthine groove of “B Patrol” worked its way into your system than it flushes itself out. Even when there’s a more spacious and less frantic beat, as in “Midnight Preylude”‘s opening tics, manic programming quickly begins to spiderwalk atop the whole affair. Factor in equally pressed strings and you begin to feel you’re watching the opening sequence of a Michael Mann film at double speed. Dense, dark, dramatic.