There must be something rather special in the air around Bristol at the moment. Monday saw the release of the mighty Intrusive Incidentalz Vol 2 by Ekoplekz, an incredible album which has been on constant repeat here at so much noise over the past few days. Also issued on the same day was Collapsed, an EP containing four new tracks by Bristol-based duo Emptyset on the esteemed Raster Noton imprint.
I’ve followed the work of James Ginzburg and Paul Purgas closely since picking up a copy of their debut self titled LP in 2009. This was an album which took the rather well worn minimal techno framework and forced it into a variety of interesting new shapes. Then came last year’s astonishing Demiurge set which is, in my opinion at least, one of the finest electronic albums to have been released recent years. They managed to better that in March this year with the release of Medium, a five track mini album which is resolutely uncompromising and brutally raw in it’s approach, yet remains an utterly gripping listening experience.
To say that my expectations of this record were high is a massive understatement and thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. A track-by-track analysis of a release like this is utterly pointless as Emptyset employ a compositional methodology which concentrates on the construction of overall aesthetic and texture rather than tunes per se. As on Demiurge and Medium, bass plays a pivotal role here; fat slabs of speaker wrecking low end pressure and thick, rumbling drones underpin each track. Sheets of static, distortion and ragged frequencies are manipulated and bent into oddly rhythmic shapes.
Once again, Emptyset have created an astonishing set of tracks which, whilst rooted at their base level in techno, ultimately bear almost no resemblance to that music's most recognisable characteristics.
There are very few people currently operating within this field and at this level right now, don't let this one pass you by if you like your music challenging, abstract and visceral. Massive recommendation to anyone giving heavy play to recent releases by Nick Edwards/Ekoplekz, Perc or Mordant Music.
Collapsed is available in both 12" vinyl and digital formats via Raster Noton. I'd also suggest sourcing copies of Medium and Demiurge too whilst you're at it, both of which are widely available.