I recently picked up this release after downloading the incredible Adolescence: The Complete Recordings 1994-2001 by Regis on the Downwards imprint and was hungry to discover more. Karl O'Konnor recorded a slew of twelves under the Regis name over a seven year period and this three disc compilation does a stellar job of making these hard to find tracks available once more.
Ancient Methods are a duo consisting of Berlin residents Conrad Protzmann (Baeks) and Trias, although a statement on their website tersely informs promotors that they are no longer operating as such. Their eponymous label was established in 2007 and they began releasing a series of extremely high quality twelves. This is, as the title would suggest, their sixth emission.
'Beneath the Black Arch' starts the set with a clattering, metallic drum track cloaked in various delay artefacts over a rippling sub-bass drone and breeze block kicks. As it's six minute running time unfolds, the whole thing threatens to overload into dubbed out distortion on several occasions before it finally recedes. 'Between a Sleep and a Sleep' is ushered in on a blast of icy strings and quickly locks itself into a looped mesh of guttural kicks, buzzing synths and washes of sonic detritus. But the best is saved until last, 'She Belongs to Eternity' begins with the same kind of mutilated electronic noise that vintage Throbbing Gristle or early Cabaret Voltaire might employ. Things quickly get completely out of hand as a thundering kick drum pattern judders into life and is peppered with feedback and high frequency blasts. A garbled voice is also embedded in the moraine of noise intoning "step one, step one" before losing it's battle with coherence under the relentless surge of primitive effects and treatments.
That this release is so strong shouldn't really come as that much of a surprise given the strength of the previous five Ancient Methods emissions and Karl O'Konnor's impeccable pedigree. But, I really can't help thinking that the three tracks contained herein represent the apogee of the series thus far.
For listeners seeking a healthy dose of wilful experimentalism to go with their caustic beats. If you've found yourself obsessing over recent, industrially tinged releases by Ekoplekz, Forward Strategy Group, Vatican Shadow or Perc then this is a logical extension to that oeuvre.
Footnote - I would also highly recommend tracking down the previous five instalments in this series which were originally released on a variety of beautifully coloured, marbled vinyl editions. For the rest of us though, all six releases are now thankfully available as digital downloads through Boomkat and others.
Play 'She Belongs to Eternity' by Ugandan Methods;