Chicago is one of the cold-spots through which the 20jazzfunkgreats squad strut in their psycho-geographic hallucinations. Through the brutal shadows of a foreboding architecture which develops in 3D the austere scores of a gaunt minimal composer we chase the electronic dragon, that beast forged in the fire of African drums and German machine music, the days of the warehouse are over but many a shadowy stalwart keeps the dream alive.
Valis stay true to the substance of freestyle, a loose structure whose components are arranged following pure instinct in absolute disregard to pop conventions or the cyclical transitions of most dance music. And within these terms of engagement they summon images of some place that is hell, but not as described in the scripture, rather, by Steinski had he been a dystopian visionary. It feels like being buried in a storm- swirling clouds of red out of which surge caustic EBM beats that pummel and maul like a ghost elephant, poisonous lightning bolts of synthetic paranoia lash like cat o’ nine tails. The rest is dirty fighting and snippets of violated soul to get you jacking as you continue your descent into the pit.
Alex Barnett’s ‘Try Harder’ is an analogue love letter to the fledging shards of stark beauty which float unassailable in those empty moments of wonder between ghastly happenings in the cinematography of that John Carpenter. Not only was the man the true master of suspense, but also the best documenter of those warped zones which emerge in the junction between industrial states and derelict back-alleys, abandoned offices and empty neighbourhoods where in the absence of people one loses all sense of perspective, lines bounding vast surfaces of concrete spread towards infinity, for all you know the apocalypse could have already happened and you shall be legend.
The feeling of eeriness is perhaps misplaced, these sceneries, snapshots of the underbelly of modern architecture are not haunted in their emptiness, but awesome, like the wild reserves of a planet whose nature operated following opposite principles to ours. Try Harder is an instance of the sound that birds and insects would make if they had evolved in places such as these, it is their beautiful music.
Get it from Nihilist Records.