Posted by: Jimmy For Reals on March 6, 2014
Since cutting his teeth in the outer vestiges of Dubstep, Untold has been carving out a singular space for himself in the musical landscape, a space of taut technoid rhythms and lean production which, whilst universally acclaimed, has never really been my cup of tea. Dark Light Spiral has changed that entirely; it’s a marked shift into a realm of thunderous, unremitting music, no more suited to a dancefloor than a relaxing armchair listening session. Even so it’s an essential listen and danceable or not the whole album would sound mind blowing on a massive rig – the sound design is exceptionally sharp, the sub-bass comes in towering, cyclopean walls and the synths are like diamond edged saws tearing through your speakers.
It’s still Techno of sorts, but in an abstracted sort of way – if you picture Techno as a hi-tech machine, then this is what it sounds like deep within its innards, nestled somewhere between blinking circuit boards and relentlessly pumping pistons . Aesthetically it shares the industrial darkness of Regis and Ancient Methods and the abraded textures of Andy Stott and Demdike Stare, but it’s all packaged up with the same macro aspect as recent Actress transmissions, wherein the focus is past the drums and upon the intricate structure of the music itself. The drums are still there, just out of focus and muted, as though the need for them is acknowledged but their presence unimportant.
From the outset 5 wheels pins you to your seat, pairing air raid howls with police sirens and deep, throbbing bass, all combining to sound like the night sky lit up an incendiary bombing raid at the height of World War III. What follows is a confronting listen by any stretch, but one so vital and devastating that you owe it to yourself to see it through – probably best if you avoid doing so if you’re tired or feeling delicate, Untold really isn’t taking any prisoners on this one. Sing a Love Song kicks things off proper with a claustrophobic reggae loop and an incessantly pulsing fog of bass before Doubles showcases what you might hear if you pressed a stethoscope against the chest of a giant robot. The highlight for me is the pairing of Strange Dreams and Hobthrush, which are weaponised strikes of such devastating impact that they might shift the foundations of your house if you play them too loud.
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