Misty Conditions: D’zzzz (Planet µ)
Misty Conditions is a collaboration between Henry Collins (a.k.a. Shitmat, among others) and Richard Wilson (Burnkane), though the result is fairly different from their respective styles. D’zzzz, named no doubt after its alliterative track listing, may mislead listeners at first, with the rousing clanging and upbeat throb of “Dusco,” but the duo are unafraid to change it up regularly across these nine tracks. There’s definitely more than a little trap influence here, especially on the lumbering beat of “Dank” or the mutant soul of “D’mmmm,” but elsewhere the beat falls away completely, and things become less tied to genre or trend. “Drowning” is a hazy fog of drones until a parade of low end pulses begins to steer it, while “Dilute” is a distorted and mangled synth experiment that recalls some of the playful noise of vintage Mego or Autechre at their most obtuse, but with an added layer of grit and shuddering reverb.
One of the distinguishing aspects of their sound is their embrace of crude surface noise, often pushing it to the foreground, while drum loops, samples, and phrases dip in and out of distortion. In this sense it feels loosely in common with Demdike Stare’s recent Test Pressing series, with odd juxtapositions of distortion, tribal rhythm, samples, and dense effects. And just when you think you’ve figured it out, the last track “Damiana” is a ridiculously distorted nightmare of a track, like a Chris Clark acid jam that’s been pushed through about 20 layers of effects and distortion until it no longer really resembles a club track as much as a shrill series of throbs. It’s a curveball among many, but that’s a large part of the appeal of the album for me. It didn’t do much for me at first, but I grew fond of its schizophrenia over time. The cross-pollination of downtempo beats, spastic rhythm, foggy drones, odd samples, and straight-up noise, mixed and matched in unpredictable ways, is an exciting one, making D’zzzz an adventurous listen from start to finish.