[dropcap style=”font-size:100px; color:#992211;”]E[/dropcap]xplora may be released on NinjaTune’s singles sub-label Technicolour but it’s rough, bleak tones are a far cry from the type of material the label is best known for.
Active since 2013 with releases on labels including L.I.E.S, these tracks are recorded at home in single takes and are deliberately and productively unpolished.
‘Explora (Slave)’ has a lo-fi, vaguely industrial, start, but but is gradually augmented by a spindly slowed-down acid sequence. Over 10 minutes the effect is a shuffling, stumbling mode of underground rave militancy.
With its distorted kick and ominous, tactile rumbling, the slower and more atmospheric ‘Headpiece’ comes across like a skeletal, emaciated form of Belgian New Beat. It’s later augmented by traces of
crunching industrial dub that do little to lift the mood.
At under six minutes, ‘Brute Force’ is by far the shortest track here and in some ways the roughest, even if it’s forcefulness is more nagging than brutal. Layers of rough, serrated textures produce a controlled, pumping rawness that slowly generates a bleak euphoria.
The closing ‘Shpel’ has an epic duration and is the slowest and most desolate track. Here Kupfer’s stated influence from the bleak Berlin winter seems evident, perhaps as the force which the track slowly strives to overcome. The muffled, twisted voice samples and static recall the greyest, most paranoiac work of artists like Richard H. Kirk and Ekoplekz. The ritualistic rhythm comes from what sounds like sampled piping and surely doesn’t bode well in whatever drama the track is soundtracking.
These tracks certainly aren’t for all and anyone already in a bleak state of mind will need to decide whether to listen according to what extent they believe bleak music can be cathartic and produce a new kind of euphoria. Those who aren’t deterred may well appreciate Explora’s morose dynamism.
12” / Digital
TCLR013 / TCLRDNL013