A quick reminder: it’s winter in Australia, so this EP arrives just in time! The Winter EP is the first of four seasonal EPs from Feral Media, each released during the corresponding season. Each will feature four local artists, inspired by landscape and weather.
The first installment offers four completely different sets of timbres that form an aural composite. Kane Ikin‘s “Storming” is lonely and desolate, inhabited by an electronic wind that blows the music in and out of the mix. It’s the sound of being trapped in, going stir crazy, wondering if the wind is a wolf at the door. At 80 b.p.m., it’s not quite like the work of the Glacial Movements roster; it does move, albeit slowly, with drone-like textures and slowly-morphing beats. Tuff Sherm‘s “The Meriton Winter” likely refers to the 73-storey World Tower in Sydney, built by the Meriton corporation. Awash in cold, clinical beats, the track sounds as sleek as snow-washed metal. It’s a perfect dance song, thanks to its powerful sub-bass, speedy tempo and mid-piece percussive break. Yet on the dance floor, no one is making eye contact. This is the winter of exclusion: a winter that occurs whenever human warmth disappears.
Scissor Lock rides a processed sample for the whole of “Vision”, twisting it into a jumble of shapes. Percussion is absent, albeit implied. As an active drone, the track imitates a blizzard in motion. A robotic click appears toward the end of the piece, prompting an entirely mechanical finale, like dead appliances returning to life following a blackout. Panoptique Electrical closes the set in evocative fashion, thanks to the inclusion of underwater samples from the Antarctic (credited to Keith Hewitt). By looping and layering these samples, Panoptique Electrical creates the impression of cracking ice, life returning to the seas as ambient waves pass overhead. Soon we’ll be ready for spring; the next installment is due in October. (Richard Allen)