Image by Lola Dupre
The past couple of years have seen a growing sense of adventure on the outer reaches of techno. Producers like Andy Stott, Raime, G.H., and Powell — although exploring widely different paths — are all united by a willingness to experiment with palpably dread-laden atmospherics (perfectly suited to meditative, late-night headphone sessions) alongside punishing sub frequencies that come alive when played at serious volume. Here Samuel Kerridge presents a highly original addition to this growing axis of unfettered sonic exploration with a deeply sinister debut release on the ultra-picky Horizontal Ground. Incorporating elements of dub, industrial, and post-punk to sludgy techno, the sonic potential of submerged sound and decayed subliminal atmosphere is expertly tapped across these four tracks, with low-end frequency destruction and liberal use of echo, delay, and warm distortion acting as sonic signifiers throughout.
Samuel Kerridge, “In and Out” (excerpt)
“In and Out” is the most overtly dubby piece — a call-and-response pad/white-noise sequence joined by an absurdly cavernous sub — balmy sonic overkill in the best possible sense. The physical effect is a little like approaching the Jah Shaka sound system from afar — great waves of distorted chest-plate bass threatening to envelope at any point. “Auditory System” is a little more subdued and sees Kerridge manipulating swirling drones for two minutes, before a mossy kick breaks the tension. “Remove Yourself” is unremittingly bleak. With rough-hewn woody drums and off-kilter string samples, it’s something akin to stumbling into the orchestra pit in a deserted theater, only to find a group of ketamine-addled zombies tuning up before a recital. Perhaps most compelling is “Membranous Labyrinth” — a fine evocation of internal dark recesses and one of the bleakest slabs of techno I’ve heard for some time. Imagine Mark Ernestus and Ben Frost locked in a Norwegian forest studio with a bottle of whiskey and a handful of downers, and you won’t be far off. Samuel Kerridge has delivered the goods here, serious winter mood music that backs up its sinister ambience with a meaty physicality and remarkably assured frequency manipulation. His is a name to watch over the next year, for sure.