Select Page

Cousin: Fallen Gods (Skam)

new signing to Skam packs a lot of punch into half an hour. The
scattershot tracks of Fallen Gods often are under 2 or 3 minutes,
with often frenetic and dense programming of drums, effects, and
pads. It sounds right at home on Skam, as it harkens back to other
eras of IDM, especially the mid 90s to early 00s. Opener “Welcome
Home” is quite strong, almost a full-on IDM braindance anthem. But
it’s not always so melodic or catchy; many tracks on the album are
focused around rough, uptempo rhythm and effects. Even on the opener
the groove is chunky and feels looped or sourced, but it radiates the
best qualities of vintage Rephlex (Cylob, Caustic Window, AFX,
µ-Ziq), and that sense of nostalgia carries through most of the
tracks here without feeling like a regurgitation. Instead it feels
like the best convergence of Slashing Cousin’s talent with Skam’s
legacy as a provider of interesting and often very new sounding music
throughout the latter 90s and onward. Lest anyone suspect that the
entire album will play like its opener, listeners are in for a jolt
with the second track “Ascend” which feels wholly like a marriage
of Autechre’s various post-2000 sounds with handsome, sweeping pads
that threaten to overtake the track completely. Curiously, beyond the
first two tracks, almost none runs longer than 3 minutes, often even
shorter than 2 minutes. In some ways this keeps things fresh and
unpredictable, affording Slashing Cousin the means to maneuver
sharply from one set of sounds to another. And even still, while the
rhythmic sensibility and balance of melody to noise can vary wildly,
these all feel like they belong together. It’s a fine example of how
eclecticism can be a strength rather than a mere distraction. “1404”
has such an awesome dizzy bending non-bass synth anchoring its
otherwise more straightforward breaks patterns, and yet it feels
right at home falling in between the IDM golden age sound “Exposure
Therapy” and the much more abrasive flailing of “Midnight
Resistance,” which sounds like a dead ringer for Autechre’s most
angular loopmaking until once again its melodic pads creep in and
take over. Fallen Gods continues then oscillating wildly between
these disparate dynamics and sounds with enough semi-regularity for
it to feel natural and cohesive. What I find most refreshing about
Slashing Cousin is that it has a lot of different appealing elements
that all seem to work together. Fans of more recent angular and
cut-up beatmaking (Meatbingo, VHS Head) as well as fans of classic
braindance from the 90s (AFX, µ-Ziq, Autechre/Gescom,
Jega) are almost sure to fall in love with the densely packed tracks
of Fallen Gods, one of my recent favorites.

Buy it: Boomkat | Bleep | iTunes | Amazon