The Glitch Mob The Glitch MobDrink The Sea
The shock wave of new Los Angeles beat is once again reverberating against people’s double chins, making them wobble like gelatine. On the other side of the detonator, we hear the laughs of The Glitch Mob, three marines who have been pumping their muscle listening to The Bomb Squad, DJ Shadow, Depth Charge and suchlike; a triumvirate of implacable dictators who have pounded on the table with their gauntlets, shaking loose the rust on them all over the heavily-populated Middle Earth of Californian abstractions. And if blood must be spilled, then by God, let it be: they have no time to waste.
Experts on the stage even before in the studio, acclaimed at festivals like Julius Caesar returning from the Gallic Wars, the undeniable masters of the mixtape and qualified as the next big thing with more justification than ever, Justin Boreta, Ed Ma (alias edIT) and Josh Mayer have not only been up to whatever circumstances arose in their anticipated baptism by fire—they have simply overcome difficulties with an astounding ease. “Drink the Sea” is a dark, stormy, album that is asphyxiating in some parts, but at no time does it fall into the abyss or stray from the course of the fat beat (there is nerve, with occasional dance floor sparks). It is as if Anakin Skywalker had stayed somewhere between being Padmé’s delicious doormat and the halitosis of the Dark Side. This balance between light and shadows is distributed in just the right amount. The rhythms move ahead like a rhinoceros, the percussion is fat and heavy, and the blackness is cosmic. It is in this impossible alchemy of chiptune electronic, space glitches, epic synthesisers, armoured basses, and poisoned boom bap basses that the trio finds its voice, a unique voice that is impossible to compare with anything that has come up in recent years from the City of Angels. It’s hard to pin on labels (hip hop? crunk? IDM? dubstep? Arrrgh!) that can contain the shine of a practically-perfect song list. The only thing I could really do without is the Portishead moment of “Between Two Points,” an island sung by Swan in an ocean of liquid ethanol without invited voices.
In “Animus Vox,” the Morricone format of the beats reveals the monster’s digital catch to us from the very beginning: hyperventilated basses, retro Mux Mool-style pinches, rap trotting, and personal, non-transferable dance floor spirit. On “We Swarm,” they come close to Justice, it’s true, but one minute into the song, they make the French group sound like two undernourished Filipinos with a ukulele. There are tracks that are too good to be true. When they stick to epic noise, they turn clay to uranium. “Drive It Like You Stole It” is a dramatic progression of angry drums, digital vomiting, and alien synthesisers. The same could be said of “How to Be Eaten by a Woman”: tense music, truly crazy sound effects, hip hop steps, and drum scales that implode under the weight of their own gravitational field. Or “A Dream within a Dream,” a detonation with war drums and IDM synthesisers that sounds like Boards of Canada if it were a satanic sect. In “Fortune Days” they end a fit of electro-freak noise with a crunk bath and violins that make you tremble. I’m coming!
And when you think that the typical filler song at the end is coming, they wring the hen’s neck and put the icing on the cake with an amazing farewell: “Save the Ego, Feed the Soul” is like if someone took Soundgarden’s “ Black Hole Sun” and reorganised its atomic structure until they got a melody to make robots cry. “Drink the Sea” is apocalyptic hip hop, a pounding funeral march of futurist beats, it’s Nexus 6 dancing breakdance while watching ships in flames beyond Orion, it’s a street psychophony that shakes off the cobwebs and leaves you breathless. Welcome to the Fight Club.