Four years on from The Highland Mob, his debut for prolific bass brute Hyperdub, Joe Powers returns with Siren Spine Sysex under his Proc Fiskal guise. This latest jaunt is considered a contemporary rework of a family legacy: Power’s Gaelic heritage.
The angelic and agrarian tones of his motherland are chopped and screwed with grime-infused frequency modulation, lush synth patterns and random interjections of field recordings that push the listener’s attention towards its obscuring leftfield qualities. Proc Fiskal’s approach to combining all of these elements into a coherent sound board is a testament to his technical and musical ability, evoking the joyful raw emotion of some urban folklore phantasm. Without his rhythmic, tonal and creative vision, this album would risk falling into the trap of becoming a rather pedestrian bass record, but fortunately Fiskal has done quite the opposite by removing all gimmicks and maintaining an organic ethos. Neither has he neglected his former production identity; he retains the off-kilter sonics of Insula, but has matured conceptually for Siren Spine Sysex.
Fiskal’s work with FM synthesis really stands out; like the saturated ebb and flow of ‘Recall (Throate Achres)’ or the oxymoronic dissonant harmonisation of ‘Thurs Jung Youtz’ and ‘Her In’. Each track is unique in its own right, tampering with source material and cultural sirens, varying dynamics preventing listener fatigue, yet they make total sense when pieced together. The balance can be difficult to strike, but on this occasion Proc Fiskal has hit a home run.
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