Objekt, Cactus / Porcupine

[Hessle Audio]


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Dubstep at 124 beats per minute? What with Pinch’s recent releases on Swamp 81 and this Hessle Audio debut from London/Berlin wunderkind Objekt, you’d think this almost were a “thing.” Sure, “Cactus” isn’t really dubstep, but it sure sounds like it. Lurching to life with a demented swagger — those tough, deadened drums halfway between techno and metallic dubstep that have become Objekt’s trademark — “Cactus” lets off little squiggles of LFO that sound like they crawled out from under the remnants some old Coki dubplate. When it finally drops, it’s a doozy, all thundering subs and mean, wiggling LFO: it doesn’t get much more dubstep than this, really, except that it sounds like a garage track having a conniption fit. The track is remarkably unfriendly to DJs, unpredictable and strangely built, but chances are you’ll know it from Ben UFO’s Rinse CD from last year, where its brutal second drop made one of the highlights of an already fantastic mix.

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A slow, pounding track with obnoxious LFO wobbles might not sound like the most ideal thing in 2012, but “Cactus” pulls it off perfectly, largely thanks to Objekt’s absolutely incredible sound design skills. There’s a stark spatiality that renders every move inflated and fearsome, but there’s also a vivacity to his sounds that feels missing from so much limp, lifeless bass music these days. Every sub-bass squall is gut-wrenching, the drums are like pistons, and the slowly swimming hi-hats slice through eardrums like butter. It’s that grasp of mixing, pacing and structuring that makes the single’s B-side even stronger: “Porcupine” immediately feels like a speed demon in comparison, cycling through a demonic military march looped at all the wrong points so it has a similar terrifying stagger to “Cactus.” It continues in this fashion for a while, as the bass line mutates and contorts behind it; but the track’s really all about the breakdown, wherein the drums dissolve into billowing pockets of dub techno gloss, slippery, iridescent chords that dissipate and bloat at will until the drums come crashing back in coated in filmy synths. It’s the best dub techno never made.

Exhilaratingly propulsive and powerful without resorting to outright brutality, there’s some sort of alchemy involved in the way Objekt fuels his tracks, the sort of building energy that’ll have you doing embarrassing air drumming moves before you even realize it. Previous tracks like “CLK Recovery” showed a restless spirit venturing through epic techno odysseys, but his Hessle Audio debut has him more focused and ferocious than ever, the distilled essence of a producer whose sound was already reduced to the point of monochrome. No producer since Peverelist has made cold grey machinery sound so brilliant, and “Cactus” is an incredibly exciting return for a label that’s been quiet for over half a year now.

Si  on February 8, 2012 at 7:57 AM

Cactus is just ridiculous, best thing on Hessle for ages

chris  on February 8, 2012 at 9:54 AM

“Every sub-bass squall is gut-wrenching, the drums are like pistons, and the slowly swimming hi-hats slice through eardrums like butter.”

this sentence makes no sense. at all.

slice through eardrums like butter???

littlewhiteearbuds  on February 8, 2012 at 10:07 AM

It makes fine sense, Chris. It’s an obvious reference to how cutting the hi-hats are that takes a little creative license.

Barry  on February 10, 2012 at 7:30 AM

last time I tried to slice something with butter it was a failure. now a knife through butter…..

littlewhiteearbuds  on February 10, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Barry makes a good point, it does require readers to make the leap of “as if they were butter,” but you’re a smart bunch.

ans  on February 10, 2012 at 12:49 PM

links dont work. where is it possible to buy this?

Andrew Ryce  on February 10, 2012 at 3:39 PM

#eardrumbutter

Brandon Wilner  on February 10, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Hey, guys, buy links are updated now.

ans  on February 10, 2012 at 6:20 PM

hey, thank you, is it vinyl only thou?

btw Chris’ argument makes sense + too many LFO references, Andrew.

littlewhiteearbuds  on February 10, 2012 at 6:42 PM

It’s vinyl first.

And he’s not referencing LFO, he’s describing the usage of LFOs in the track.

ans  on February 11, 2012 at 9:40 AM

thx-2
captain obvious: too many ‘usage of lfo’s’ references (reference’s not a proper word, i agree). but its a great text overall.

Steve  on February 12, 2012 at 1:23 AM

“Cactus is just ridiculous, best thing on Hessle for ages” – This is kind of a meaningless statement seeing that they’ve hardly had any new releases in the last year or so. Plus the last artist EP was the excellent Dance Til The Police Come. Might as well say it’s the best thing on Hessle since the last thing on Hessle.

I do agree that it’s great though.

Trackbacks

Little White Earbuds February Charts | Little White Earbuds  on March 2, 2012 at 11:04 AM

[…] Johnson] (buy) 08. Demdike Stare, “Ishmael’s Intent” [Modern Love] (buy) 09. Objekt, “Cactus” [Hessle Audio] (buy) 10. Ital, “Privacy Settings” [Planet Mu] (buy) Staff Charts:Nick […]

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