WIFE: What's Between
To many, 'What's Between' will be viewed simply as the debut solo album by Irish singer songwriter James Kelly, aka WIFE, but to fans of the critically acclaimed metal band, Altar of Plagues, this album marks the return of a much admired talent. As front man in Altar of Plagues, James Kelly was lauded as being partly responsible for creating some of the most innovative music to emerge out of the metal scene in recent years. After the release of their third album, which many viewed as a creative high point, they surprised everyone and disbanded soon afterwards. This decision was partially due to Kelly feeling the band had gone as far as they could, but also because of a burning desire he'd developed to make a very different kind of record leading to the creation of WIFE. 'What's Between' is a disorientating and splintered pop record that finds light and dark at constant odds with one another, industrial tones and throbbing techno beats clashing with elegiac pastoral atmospherics. Even on seemingly lighter moments the lyrics often betray their sunnier surroundings. Produced with The Haxan Cloak, who released 'Excavation,' one of last years most acclaimed and extreme electronic albums, lie, and cult hero Roly Porter, 'What's Between' is a highly ambitious solo debut by an artist boldly navigating outside of their comfort zone.
With the release of his 'Preparations' EP on Tri Angle in late 2013, Fis and his inimitable and wholly original sound was introduced to the wider world. Since he’d first emerged with a series of ultra rare 12” releases in 2012 on various drum and bass oriented labels the Wellington, New Zealand based producer had quietly been tipped on the underground as one to watch. The praise heaped upon 'Preparations' definitely seemed to justify the hype that had quietly been building behind the man otherwise known as Oliver Peryman. Pitchfork referred to Fis as an artist who "was in the process of uncovering an altogether new rhythmic grammar" and on 'Iterations', his latest EP on Tri Angle, he continues to do just that. It's still a pretty daunting task trying to explain exactly what Fis sounds like. He's been referred to as a drum and bass producer, but as XLR8R have rightly stated, "even in the context of the drum & bass resurgence there's little question that Fis is exploring some exciting, uncharted territory." The disorientating and confounding rhythms are still present, but in comparison to 'Preparations', 'Iterations' feels more expansive and oceanic, less claustrophobic and ever so slightly more approachable. What these 4 tracks confirm is that Fis is a producer who has something important and special to add to the electronic genre.
Sd Laika: That's Harakiri
It isn't often an artist seems to materialize from nowhere with a sound so disinterested in following any conventional rules that it inspires equal measures bafflement and stunnedness, but in 2012 with the release of the 'Unknown Vectors' EP, Sd Laika did just that. Taking the already alien sounds of grime music as a starting off point and abrasively twisting them into something even more unknowable, Laika had developed a sound that defied any easy categorization. 2 years later Dummy Magazine would come to refer to this record as 'one of the most jaw-droppingly inventive debuts in recent memory and ought to be considered "the other 'Cold Mission'" (in reference to the highly acclaimed Logos LP from 2013)'. After 'Unknown Vectors' Sd Laika became something of a mystery, disappearing from the scene altogether leaving behind him a small, but hardcore cult fanbase convinced they'd glimpsed something very special in those 5 tracks. It was only in 2013 when Tri Angle approached Sd Laika that a new record began to take shape. This record would end up consisting of songs Sd Laika had recorded in 2011 and 2012, songs he'd convinced himself would never see the light of day. For various reasons it looked likely Unknown Vectors would wind up being Laika's one and only ever release, which is why we're so excited (and as huge fans, relieved) to announce the release of his debut album 'That's Harakiri.'
Evian Christ: Waterfall
It's safe to say since his emergence at the tail end of 2011 Evian Christ, aka Joshua Leary, has had a whirlwind two years. Off the back of his breakthrough mixtape 'Kings And Them' which came out on Tri Angle Records in February 2012, the 24 year old, Ellesmere Port, UK native has produced on Kanye West's Yeezus, collaborated with acclaimed conceptual artist Matthew Barney, released the notably abstract sound-piece Duga-3, performed around the world alongside the likes of Purity Ring, Actress and Four Tet and garnering positive reviews and features in global tastemaker press including Details Magazine, Dazed & Confused, Pitchfork and VIBE amongst many others. His latest EP Waterfall finds Evian Christ exhibiting a creative restlessness that continues to make it harder to pigeonhole this young, evolving artist. On Kings And Them Evian Christ conjured up a sound that was influenced by hip hop as it much as it was by more ambient forms of music. On Waterfall Evian Christ has taken his unique sound into a far noisier and more aggressive territory.
?Preparations’ is the first record to be released on Tri Angle by Fis. Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Fis has steadily been building a name for himself on the underground as a producer to keep an eye on. Having already put out a number of very limited edition and very well received releases through a handful of drum and bass oriented labels, ?Preparations’ finds Fis at a point in his music making career where he’s ready to be introduced to a wider audience and confirm why websites like Resident Advisor have had things like this to say about him in the past; ?A producer that has suddenly appeared, rather fully-formed, doing something completely individual, sounding like absolutely no one else.’ It’s pretty difficult to explain exactly what Fis sounds like. Drawing upon a rich history of New Zealand customs and periods of heavy meditation for inspiration, Fis’s tracks have the ability to completely disorientate and absorb the listener, creating rhythms that constantly seem to be cannibalizing one another. ?Preparations’ feels forward thinking in the extreme and yet entirely elemental and strangely ancient.
Forest Swords: Engravings
In 2010 Forest Swords, the musical guise of Matt Barnes, introduced his unique and highly evocative sound with the release of his debut EP ?Dagger Paths’. Developing a word of mouth, cult following, the release was critically lauded upon, landing positions on numerous ?Best of’ lists that year. Heralded as an artist on the rise with big things ahead of him, Forest Swords took his newfound interest and for very personal reasons did what many artists wouldn’t have done in his position; he practically vanished. Now over 3 years later Tri Angle is ecstatic to announce his return with the release of his debut album; ?Engravings’.As a lifelong resident of the windswept, bleakly beautiful Wirral Peninsula in the north of England, Forest Swords’ surroundings have always tended to be his biggest inspiration and that love affair continues to flourish on ?Engravings’, Barnes even opting to mix the entire record on the beaches of this battered coastline on his laptop. The results are heavy and triumphant, euphoric and yet touched by a distinct world-weariness. Engravings is an expansive and truly original fusion of rattling dub rhythms, chiming guitar, blunted hip hop beats, and vocals that sound as if they’re emanating from decades old gospel recordings.
The Haxan Cloak: Excavation
In 2011 with the release of his debut, self titled album, The Haxan Cloak, solo project of multi instrumentalist, Bobby Krlic, appeared seemingly out of nowhere with an impressively fully formed sound that blew away most anyone who heard it. Recorded over the space of 3 years The Haxan Cloak was a wildly ambitious fusion of malevolent strings, junkyard found-sounds and primitive percussion. In the two years since the release of his debut, Krlic relocated to London and began working on it’s epic follow up, and Tri Angle Records debut; Excavation
Bolstered by the concept he was developing for his follow up and a desire to challenge himself into new terrains, Krlic has evolved his sound to incorporate more of his electronic influences. The result is an album awash with serrated beats and cavernous sub-bass, meshing with the classical drones and ghostly details The Haxan Cloak fans will have already been accustomed to. Whereas The Haxan Cloak was a dense, and at times, suffocating listen, Excavation finds Krlic confidently adopting a more minimalist approach, experimenting with space and silence without forsaking any of the intensity that made his debut such a powerful statement of intent.
Vessel: Order of Noise
In the past, trying to pin down Vessel's constantly evolving sound has never been an easy task and with the release of his debut album it's become a whole lot harder. In the past 12 months, Vessel, AKA 22-year-old Sebastian Gainsborough, has been introducing people to his sound via a series of 12" releases on a number of forward thinking underground labels with each release confounding the expectations of those trying to get a grasp on what exactly he was doing. Order of Noise is the culmination of his first exploratory steps as an artist, and the album Tri Angle Records believed Vessel was building up to. It signals the arrival of an innovative and intensely unique, young, electronic producer who has developed a sound that still has the potential to confuse and confound, but one that is now identifiable as being very much his own.
Using techno and house as a jumping off point, Vessel manages to twist these things into something unconventional and alien, often creating music that sounds as if it's rhythmically out of control when in fact it's all tightly controlled chaos. It's a testament to Vessel's talent how he manages to rein all his ideas and sound in with so much thoughtful precision.