As a piercing blade makes first contact with the surface of the flesh, slicing all the way to an ivory-stained bone, so too do the dagger-like, notorious electronics of Yves De Mey carve their way into the music. An incredibly dangerous current of live electricity funneling hundreds of volts sizzles as it passes through the narrow tubes. They can only just contain the current as it rattles along. Static frazzles the air, and an unceasing rhythm advances.
Drawn With Shadow Pens is on the verge of a breakdown, of some life-altering decision just a couple of seconds away. It has two choices: clinging onto the relative, yet temporary safety of the soil, or the final, decisive jump into the abyss. The music pauses on the precipice.
The rolling, bass-driven ‘Adamance’ is the straightest track on the record, a Belgian child with the personality of minimal techno and the behavioral difficulties of grimy glitch. Its psyche is split by deranged flutters of noise, and its abrasive, shivering textures grate like bony fingers along a whiteboard. Like the girlfriend you wish you’d once dated, they’re really dirty. All of the tracks build at a slow pace, but it’s progressively powerful and its sluggish tempo is one of the reasons why.
Like a UFO sighting over the hot-spot county of Wiltshire, multiple lights flash and strobing synths blink, creating a dark polyrhythm that feels as if it should accompany some sort of control panel on an intergalactic spaceship. The intermittent rhythms help to create a stuttering atmosphere, but a steady beat counteracts this and, to some extent, removes the ghost that was haunting the system. At other times, the electronic melody slowly blips like a slow server gradually processing slivers of information.
Unbelievably, Drawn With Shadow Pens was recorded in just one take (and in mono). Yves De Mey has a wealth of experience though, and it really does shine through. You should exercise caution when approaching the music, because it can suddenly lash out. When it does, it leaves a nasty bite behind. “Xylo” crackles and tears at the seams, while “Stabbings In Fluid” uneasily stirs. It slumbers, but it keeps one eye open. Rhythms that consist of nothing but gravel disintegrate as they loop, spluttering their disfigured debris – rocks, soil – into the air as its industry crumbles around its feet.
Drawn With Shadow Pens shapeshifts as it slithers along. The vibrating, spiraling waveform passes in and out; it presents itself as a hologram, a transparent reality that you can pass through. The metallic tones are always sharp, buzzing like a deadly machine. Shell-shocked beats clip the edges of the synths, producing the bright spark of friction that can only happen during a close encounter. Contact is an inevitable thing. (James Catchpole)
Release Date: January 22