Michael Hann, AKA Rejections, is based in Stockton-on-Tees—not far from the Redcar base of fellow cassette voyager Stephen "Opal Tapes" Bishop. Compared to Bishop's Basic House project, though, Hann is less concerned with dance forms. Sure, there's often a baleful kick drum buried under layers of industrial soundscaping, but its presence seems secondary, more an ominous timekeeper than protagonist. The pitch-blank aesthetic of Emptyset is perhaps more apt, but where the Bristol duo aim for precise, full-frequency impact, Hann's music is more impressionistic.
That's not to say this isn't confrontational music—it's almost overwhelmingly so at times. The Vertical City EP, released on young tape label Jehu and Chinaman, is apparently inspired by Ballard's High Rise—a dystopian tale of urban living—and there's certainly a lurid Ballardian intensity to the best of these tracks. "Critical Mass" delivers earsplitting cascades of urban ambience over an unsettling tribal pulse; "Death Resident"'s dead-eyed drone almost smothers a palpitating kick drum. Elsewhere, "Body Markings" brings the sub pressure, its churning bass pulse harried by parched bursts of noise, and "Blood Garden" channels similar materials towards a slightly more pensive end. In all cases it's the sheer pungency of the hi-end that makes these tracks effective, eroding your eardrums as you struggle to fight a mounting sense of panic.
Tracklist: Rejections - The Vertical City EP01. Critical Mass
02. Death of a Resident
03. Body Markings
04. The Blood Garden