It’s three very different Unknown Pleasures this week, as Getintothis’ Patrick Clarke introduces us to the best in undiscovered dance, folk and psychedelia.
We’ve covered our fair share of electronica here in Unknown Pleasures corner, but nothing that even borders on the machinated intensity of Doldrums‘ latest, My Friend Simjen.
The project of 25-year-old Airick Woodhead, the tune is the first sample of April’s upcoming album The Air Conditioned Nightmare, his second, and from the moment a cursory clatter of metallic drums gives way to a buried vocal and swarming samples is a steam-powered, 6-minute thrill from start to finish.
Hoarse, devilish vocals and a kaleidoscope of keys are little more than a spine on the track for a gloriously left-field dovetail of texture, the track clicking and whirring through a fierce, fiery assault that simply has to be heard to be believed.
The plaintive folk of Nick Edward Harris, meanwhile, is Doldrums‘ polar opposite in all but quality. Abandoning his work to do little but wander the New Zealand countryside and busk to pay the bills, the early signs of sophomore album The Tall Trees reflect that naturalism with an inviting swirl of lush, paganistic texture and a vocal both opulent and raw.
On the first of the album’s samplers, Calm Your Demons, Harris seizes on sparse, endless musical vistas counterbalanced with the kind of brooding undercurrent only the finest in his craft can manage, swelling strings and knife edge flute cutting in and out atop a raw, fervent guitar line that’s still nothing short of serene.
But if all that tranquility’s getting you a little agoraphobic, the sheer insanity of UK duo Giant Swan should be more than enough to offset it, Bring Back Fives, their latest, a colossal, claustrophobic concoction of thumping drums and pedal-induced fuzz at a nuclear level.
It’s a bemusing blend of techno, drone and psychedelia, the likes of which we’re struggling to find a comparison for, yet a bewitching one nonetheless, particularly when the pair properly hit their pummeling industrial groove beneath a phenomenal outburst of feedback to do Kevin Shields proud. Another one you just simply have to hear to understand.