Bristol's Emptyset have the honour of putting out my favourite release of 2012 so far. Medium, which was released in March took the concept of bass and experimental musics to an absolute apogee as far as I'm concerned and is essential listening. Prior to this EP length release, Emptyset issued their sophomore album Demiurge last year and it's from this album that these two tracks have been forged.
Paul Jebanasam has created a variety of soundtrack pieces and film music over the past few years but also put out the incredible Music for the Church of St John the Baptist on Subtext earlier in 2012. It was an inspired choice to hand over the tapes to him given his background in audio sculpture and experimental drone works. On 'Demiurge', Jebanasam takes the concept of the remix to another level, processing components from the entire album as a single entity into a piece subtitled 'Of Blackest Grain to Missive Ruin'. The track initially sounds like a field recording taken at the site of an erupting volcano but rapidly begins to incorporate glowering subs and eerie orchestral drones. In the light of this piece and his previous album, Jebanasam is most definitely a name to watch out for in the future.
The second piece is a variation on the track 'Function' and is subtitled 'Vulgar Display of Power'. Again, Roly Porter was probably the only other choice of producer that Subtext could have made to handle such source material. His debut album Aftertime is another huge favourite of mine and will likely be at the very top of my 'best of 2012' list come December. Here, his re-imagining is masterful, adding a brooding intro to the original rapid-fire bass pulses before turning them into a caustic series of cavernous jackhammer blows sending showers of digital scree out into the inky blackness.
The words 'experimental' and 'industrial' seem to be rather voguish in electronic music these days and there have been some incredibly compelling releases over the past year or so but this two tracker really is something else. Stark, brutal, uncompromising and utterly beautiful are descriptors that spring immediately to mind when listening to this all too brief emission from Subtext Recordings who are a label truly leading the field in this area right now.
Demiurge Variations is available in both vinyl and digital formats from a variety of outlets as is the original source album Demiurge. You should also seek out and acquire Aftertime by Roly Porter and Music for the Church of St John the Baptist by Paul Jebanasam whilst you're at it.