As the world tries to reboot the show Nuclear Armageddon (which we hoped had been put on hiatus in the early 90s) we can’t help but search out some sort of anaesthetising soundtrack. Yet where once we found glorious escape in the brutal — a voyeur to imaginary catastrophe — now it feels like prepping.
The DIY dance music we’ve posted over the years has always had an uncanny quality. As if the hedonism is half remembered. The drums feel generations old and there’s scant attention paid to the more commercial and functional elements that help reinforce the genre’s endless categorisation. This, so often, feels like music from the rubble, music for survivors.
So our approach Assell’s new record on Where To Now? is markedly different to our days of only imagining the end of the world. Which is perhaps unfair and yet, music has a way of picking up on the future. Not with tangible predictions (we’ll leave that to Sci-fi and, ok, Neil Young) but with feeling. Whether it knows it or not Assell’s, brutal, Barbecue Stains is being released into this dark timeline we’re living. I think it knows.
Beginning with a scraped hissing sample and drums like distant flak cannons is a strong start. And that unnerving combo is quickly joined by drums and drums and drums. Drums from Techno, drums from 2-Step, drums crashing into each other. Unstable, like two rooms from two clubs being layered on top of each other. Forced to merge, fused into a new shape. The tortured vocal sample, completely unintelligible, only adds to the feeling that we’ve slipped into a world at a right angle to this one and can’t come back.
Barbecue Stains is taken from the album This Will Not Stand, which is out today on Where To Now?. You can get it right here.