ALBUM OF THE WEEK
For a few years now, Salford’s White Hotel and the growing constellation of artists associated with it – Rainy Miller, Space Afrika, Blackhaine – has been the hub of one of the UK’s most exciting, unpredictable underground music scenes. UK bass, ambient music, post-punk, noise, drill; the artists from this scene dip into all of these genres and more, producing results that all sound completely individual, yet clearly share a certain genealogy. And Iceboy Violet is at the centre of almost all of it.
Their new record, Not A Dream But A Controlled Explosion, is one of the most rewarding pieces of work to emerge from the White Hotel yet. It’s just eight tracks long, including a brief, smoky intro piece, but it’s dense and disorientating, weightless synths spiralling over lumbering drum machines and dizzy vocals, adding up to a project of real substance. Iceboy Violet’s flow is the common denominator amid the fluid atmospheric shifts, at once drawled and seething, laconic and urgent. This is music that feels like it’s being whispered in your ear by a scared friend on a down-spiralling night out. It’d be oppressive if it weren’t so thrillingly assembled; kuduro-like drum scatters colliding with grime-y bass and traces of oily, disembodied dancehall. Perhaps best of all, it feels distinctly regional, northern, in touch with the best of the North’s modernist past and gesturing towards an enticingly indeterminate future. It’s intoxicating.
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