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Mirvariates (2Lp)

Label: The Trilogy Tapes

Format: 2LP

Genre: Electronic

In stock


Tip! Metasplice return an absorbingly elusive, minimalist shadow of their former, noisy selves with ‘Mirvariates’ for Will Bankhead’s The Trilogy Tapes  Following a slight hiatus and a canny rethink of their sound, Metasplice’s first new studio album in five years, Mirivates defines the Philadelphian duo’s acute inversion from noisy roil to shimmering lower case sounds across seven tracks embracing negative space as a vital new part of their music.  Gauging by the skinny, barely-there aesthetics of Marinates, one would be forgiven for thinking that Metasplice only submitted the scrubbed stems of the album to TTT. However, closer listening reveals a series of oblique, abstract electro-acoustic ecosystems that bristle with virulent energy, perhaps emulating the varied ambiences of a space station (“Mir”?), the coded inner dialogues of stressed out machinery, or the sound of the Internet of Things plotting their take-over of humanity in encrypted electro-magnetic chatter.

  Over the course of seven tracks they pay special attention to volume dynamics and texture, with fathomless abstract shapes looming from the darkness in persistently reorienting and amorphous style, as the imagined “walls” of each piece seem to dissolve and establish new dimensions within each cut, from the tentatively perilous explorations of ‘Cirrension’, to the free jazz-like squabble of ‘Teleric’, thru the clipped gamelan resonances of ‘Vase Weight Re-Route’, and the Xth Reeflexion-liek fuss of ‘Aridtaq’, and up to the parting, side-long denouement of ‘Speculen’, where a melodic spirit seems to be seductively struggling thru their finely graded textures and airborne sediments.  It’s all effectively and undoubtedly a radical break with past Metasplice releases, reeling away from the ‘floor to somewhere much more abstract and difficult to properly fathom with words.

It’s best to just treat these recordings like seashells scavenged from the liminal shores of perception, awaiting your close ear inspection and interpretation.

Cat. number: TTT066
Year: 2021
Mirvariates is a rugged and occasionally disturbing world, but one of stark beauty | Read more

Five years ago, Metasplice were travelling happily down their own dimly lit path. The Philadelphia duo were releasing tapes, files and EPs with the no-nonsense ethos of an act more interested in satisfying themselves than a hypothetical audience. Then they brushed up against club culture. Given how nasty their sound could be, you might've assumed most dance floors would recoil whenever, say, Objekt would drop "Buoyant Slight" in 2013. The meeting of America's avant-DIY noise diaspora and techno was much-feted at the time. Though the union seemed fertile, it was doomed to end sooner rather than later.  

This is because acts as freewheeling as Metasplice were always going to be hemmed in by techno's steady beat. As time passed, their awe-inspiring live shows moved further away from regular rhythm, but they still used it in small doses to devastating effect. (I remember seeing them in an Austrian church in 2014 and scribbling down the line, "Jeff Mills burning up on reentry.") That they ever had anything to do with dance music at all seems like a dream.  Mirvariates does away with the connection entirely, which is key to it being Metasplice's most significant work yet. It arrives courtesy of The Trilogy Tapes, a label with considerable experimental pedigree that is nevertheless intimately associated with club music. The owner, Will Bankhead, has presented a record that will confound many of the label's listeners but greatly please those willing to follow Metasplice's increasingly abstract inclinations. He's performed a public service by giving a record like this a platform.

  While removing any trace of dance music from their sound may have limited Metasplice's appeal, it has freed them to follow their strengths. Mirvariates places the duo's keen knack for the uncanny front and centre. This feeling is often marked by jumbled microscopic textures. Some are bright and glinting like trickling trails of water ("Subaltic Render"). Others resemble shifting granules of earth, held down by some mighty downward pressure ("Irindicnt"). "Aridtaq" calls to mind a dog stuffing its snout in an ant nest. On "Vase Weight Re-Route" and "Subaltic Render," deteriorated objects are struck and distressed, as if a presence is feeling out their contours and properties.   Each track resembles a shifting, unstable topography. It's hard to tell whether the surface is crumbling beneath your feet or reconfiguring new paths. These tremors grow as the record progresses. On "Irindicnt" we're steadily buried under an apocalyptic avalanche of gravel. The closer, "Speculen," takes us away from Earth altogether, dropping us on a barren planet with a toxic atmosphere. A clear sense of threat is heightened by an inability to figure out exactly what we're meant to be afraid of. Mirvariates is a rugged and occasionally disturbing world, but one of stark beauty, too. It might not earn Metasplice hordes of new fans, but it's a record that commands respect.

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