Your Words, Slow Release
Prolific body music project Autumn’s recent Your Words, Slow Release highlights what has made the Irish producer’s work something of an unusual quantity in the world of crossover EBM. While the record has a few straight up mid-tempo instrumental 16th note bangers (“Therefore It Is”, “I Am Intertwining”), it’s far more interesting to examine the spots where Autumns deviates from that template. Slow-rolling opener “Cheap Subject Matter” splits the difference between Klinik-esque dark electro and Cabaret Voltaire’s dubbier moments, a blueprint that is further slowed and reverbed into torpor on closing track “Vilnius”. It’s an aesthetic that appears in the faster “I’m Not Working A Fucking Hour For You Bastards” where but throws springy reverbs, distant vocal yowls and some tripwire percussion-fills sew chaos behind the bassline. Even stranger is the effect of the “Silly Billy Interlude” where sinister, Badalamenti-esque guitars and vocal samples careen through a cavernous field of reverb. It’s none of it expected and all the better for it; Autumns for all their lo-fi charm and unpredictability are one of the acts keeping EBM weird.
Gauzy Polish act Amrou Kithkin have quietly won us over with an unassuming combination of dream-pop, post-punk and darkwave over the past five years or so. New record Wither arrives at relatively the same ratio of sounds and influences as its predecessors, but each delivered with such different execution that the end result feels much more blunt and direct than the band normally is. The nodding bass and slowly emergent vocal melodies of “Eyes Only” feel very much on par with the duo’s track record. However, the handling of the electronics which make up so much of the band’s sound (they’ve used “synthgaze” to classify themselves for a number of years) offers surprisingly squared-off synths which have more in common with turn of the millennium synthpop and electro-goth than the moodier darkwave influences we normally associate with the band. The coldly naked and unyielding vocals of “(Descension) Into The Underworld” (“You’re a fucking relapse / You’re unsafe”) are frankly jarring in comparison to the velvety soft “Small Talk Cats” and “Floodplains” (a slightly different version of which was releases as a single on 3 1/4″ floppy last year) which, while dark, offer the sort of atmospheres on which the band earned their rep. If nothing else these contrasts show the band’s versatility, and the different modes give Wither a sense of substance as an LP.