Old Apparatus Old ApparatusDerren EP
When your vision goes beyond the forms established around you, the best thing to do is to step out of the (sometimes vicious) circle and go out on your own. At this point, it's odd that a collective like Old Apparatus is linked to a label like Mala's Deep Medi, which, no matter how carefully it picks its releases, is still a label mainly associated with classic dubstep. The London quartet have been trying to escape from that tag; their music is flexible and liquid, abominating the beat most of the time, and taking suspense, or terror, as their most basic reference, in a very broad sense: expressionist soundtracks, cosmic escapes, rivers of analogue noise, freeform improvisation. Any connection with the bass scene is purely coincidental, an unforced error, like in tennis. So, after two EPs on Deep Medi (the disturbing “Old Apparatus” and the disorienting “Zebulon”), the four-piece has their own platform. Sullen Tone kicks off with their “Derren EP”, starting a cycle that will be completed, from now until December, with three more releases, one every two months.
Liberated from any pressure, and without having to answer to any scene, Old Apparatus sound completely free here. “Zimmer”, the first track on side A, starts the trip with some suspended synths, as if they were illustrating the opening credits of a sci-fi disaster movie, like the music Hans Zimmer (the title is no coincidence, methinks) would write for a hypothetical remake of “Blade Runner”. But don't expect any logical continuity in the other pieces: “Derren” is close to Radiohead (a kind of anxious post-rock wrapped in comatose beats, like Modeselektor on codeine), and “Bodah” concludes the single in a Burial-like atmosphere that rapidly turns into decomposed ambient-noise with flu. Meanwhile, prior to that, “Dealow” plays with folk, situating Old Apparatus in the space Various Production left (temporarily) vacant as the biggest and most fascinating enigma of the British electronic underground, with their codes that mix different styles and their atmospheres that make people uneasy. This new chapter in their adventure couldn't have started better.