[Werkdiscs / Ninjatune]
In our 2012 year-end coverage, I attempted to justify our selection of Actress’ R.I.P as the top album by noting that no one is currently making music quite like Darren Cunningham. While I stick by that sentiment (it’s only been two months, after all), it’d be appropriate to qualify that statement a bit. You see, Actress has a posse. Or more accurately, a record label. And though he’s only utilized Werkdiscs for his own production a single time since his 2008 debut LP — an elusive white label release at the very tail end of last year — he’s primarily taken to the label as a means of furthering his mutilated agenda. That Lukid, Lone, and Zomby have seen significant releases through the London imprint seems only appropriate. Each are amongst a minute few that could be deemed Cunningham’s contemporaries, all possessing a peculiar heir of insidiousness, bent on distorting our perception of contemporary techno. And now, assimilating nicely amongst this clandestine fold with Never Sleep, we have Moiré.
There’s little-to-no available intel regarding Werkdiscs’ most recent export and a Google search doesn’t help much either, except to provide an idea from where their name is derived. According to Wikipedia, “a moiré pattern is an interference pattern created, for example, when two grids are overlaid at an angle.” That’s as good of an entry point as any and one that seems fitting given the product. A collaboration with the comparably unidentifiable Lessons, “Lose It” launches the EP in a disorienting manner. A hulking thump offers a ridged crux for the vocals, credited to Heidi Vogel, to seep into the proceedings. Her affecting wisp drips along as the beat is tightly tossed through an array of muted bells, hydraulic punches, and the seeming sounds of Bane exhaling. Overlaid angles abound. “Drugs” finds Moiré working by their lonesome, with an unrelenting string of handclaps grossly laid over a hunk of starched reverb that sounds as if it could soundtrack Communist Techno Death March 2013. An orchestral synth run levies some of the tension around the halfway mark, repurposing the claps into something uplifting, but a reintroduction of the maniacal pulse severs any hope of absolute reprieve. Both tracks are doused in enough cacophony as to potentially label them sloppy, but both bear enough propulsion as to render any nitpicking moot.
The flip belongs to Cunningham as the boss man takes a crack at “Lose It,” shedding the jostling nature of the original for an unrepenting bit of techno snark. And given the esoteric nature of R.I.P, it’s almost refreshing, in a masochistic sense, to see him make this return to the dregs. Vogel’s vocals are unrecognizable, reduced to a hiccup, as they work around a wet chunk of analog garble. The track doesn’t necessarily go anywhere during it’s nine-minute runtime, but it’s a rather undeniable offering of pure peak-time perversion. That EP closer, “INTO,” has been relegated to “digital download only” territory seems fitting. The gaseous drift and pitched-up vocals don’t necessarily fit into the surrounding apocalyptic motif, but it does succeed in adding another layer to the previously blank canvas that is Moiré, one that has impressively infiltrated the weird world of Actress on his first crack.