Electronic music has always had its murkier corners, but the fog seems to have settled particularly thickly of late. Peering through the gloom, you glimpse the likes of Demdike Stare and Haxan Cloak shaping music as unnerving as the occult tales from which they take their names. Meanwhile, industrial techno acts like Forward Strategy Group and Karenn sound as caked in soot as the dark mills their music evokes.
There's been some speculation over Violesthaped's exact identiy—the duo consists of Berlin-based producer Shapednoise and a supposedly well-known techno artist behind the Violet Poison mask. But if your only clue were the eight tracks on this debut LP, you might think these were forgotten tapes from an early industrial band like Cabaret Voltaire—it's as cold and dank as a dungeon throughout. The ominous opener, "State Of Temporary Neuronal Effervescence" offers a brief chance to catch your breath before the relentless march begins with the shuddering metallic stomp of "The Lord Will Not Forget." "Out Of Any Symmetry" is as dense and threatening as a forest of barbed wire, and the howls throughout "cX310" make you picture someone nailing sheets of metal over the mouth of hell. It's tempting to try and find an angle to explain music this impenetrable—you could say, for instance, that Violetshaped dramatise dehumanisation as effectively as the zombie films they cite as inspirations—but it's hard to keep your train of thought when your brain when it feels like it's being crushed in a vice.
The most dance floor-friendly track here is "Delusory Parasitosis," but even this one feels gungy and fetid. "Down Regulation" could almost be Ninja Tune's Lorn slightly sped up. The album ends with "Anaesthesia," a beatless track shrouded in sinister hisses that feel like sweat prickling on your brow—a sensation which, even after just 40 minutes, might be more down to exhaustion than fear.
Tracklist: Violetshaped - LPA1 State of Temporary Neuronal Effervescence
A2 The Lord Won’t Forget
B1 Out of Any Symmetry
C1 Spectral nightdrive
C2 Delusory Parasitosis
D1 Down regulation