Sketched out during six weeks in New York, during which time Huismans drew on a cache of obscure post-punk, new age and early synth records for inspiration, The New Today channels, intentionally or not, the boundary-breaking spirit of no wave and the early '80s, Manhattan art-funk scene—not in a faithful homage, but in a freewheeling way that defies easy categorisation. The swirls of distortion that underpin "Arrival" may hark back to the grey, industrial fringes of punk-funk, just as the dark disco of "Terraforming" recalls that scene's interest in Latin and African polyrhythms. But after that, The New Today hares off into wild, uncharted scrubland, bordered by the woody krautrock of James Holden's The Inheritors, the psychedelic jazz of broken beat icons 4Hero and Brandt Brauer Frick's conservatoire techno.
The results are as bleak as they are beautiful. A funereal slice of high drama, "Drumcell" sounds like Andy Stott soundtracking an avant-garde theatre production of Macbeth. An insistent thrum of beats and vibrating piano bass chords, it builds with a chest-crushing force that sucks the air from the room. "Cauldron" is underpinned by a similar percussive insanity, and yet it begins to leak warm liquid chords, which eventually envelop the track, turning it into something profoundly serene. Not all of A New Today reaches those heights, but Huismans is really stretching the possibilities of where his sound can go. This is a serious, knotty work, and it's a pleasure to untangle.