rkss draws from an EDM sample pack for her debut LP on Lee Gamble's label.
The results occasionally sound a bit like "EDM In The Style Of Lee Gamble." The second track, where filmy melody clusters are punctured by pistoning kick drums, echoes Gamble's Mnestic Pressure. But the resemblance is fleeting. This kind of music often appears to be about microscopic zoom: it takes familiar material and magnifies it until all you can see are atoms pinging about. (The idea is supported by the album's opening track, where an obnoxious bass drop winds down and then fragments into a brain-boring particulate cloud.) But where Gamble zooms in on, say, UK hardcore and finds shadows and intrigue, rkss zooms in on her off-the-shelf sounds and finds a dry, harsh sonic desert.
There's not much to please the ear in track four, in which corrosive sustained tones sound out over a grubby seascape of white noise, or track six, where what sounds like granulated hi-hats and machine-gun kick drums punch through the digital scree. And presumably that's the point. Flashes of richer atmosphere are brief, as with track seven's flickering arpeggios. Elsewhere, glassy tones are marshalled into angular, dissonant sequences that hover teasingly beyond resolution. On track five, they accompany what sounds like a snare fill scrubbing tiredly in and out of frame. This is all satisfyingly consistent with the source material, but you're pretty ready to zoom back out to the macro scale by the time the final track comes along. We pan out from its melancholic pads—the album's most expressive moment—to find ourselves midway through a hands-in-the-air synth breakdown. Compared to Brostep, it's less clear what DJ Tools is trying to say. But that doesn't make it any less engaging.
Thu / 23 Aug 2018
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