Shaddah Tuum, Merkabah

[Portal Editions]

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Not much is known about Shaddah Tuum, but they sound like they inhabit a cold, 1950s bunker lit by a single flickering light bulb, sustained on a diet of illicit overproof vodka, cheap cigarettes, dried kabanos, and no daylight whatsoever. This is feral night music of a rather high grade, backed by slab cold remixes from Samuel Kerridge and Dadub. It marks a strong-blooded debut for new Berlin label Portal Editions. “Merkabah” is a fearsome tune that wades through sulphuric mud with hissing atmospherics, metallic ghost ship clangs, and thunderous kicks. It’s a heads down track that avoids gratuitous darkness thanks to a spacious mix and will no doubt delight fans of modern day Downwards. “S-Ninyourhead” is a still more morose affair, pitching down in a malfunctioning diving bell to search the depths. A veritable suicide mission of a track that utilizes a strange nautical bellow (processed fog horn, perhaps?) as rhythmic device, alongside distorted percussive elements that roll out slowly alongside a yellow slick of poisonous hiss and drag.

Remix duties are ably performed by Dadub and Kerridge. Indeed, there are few producers working within techno more capable of conjuring fetid murk, and both utilize their markedly idiosyncratic techniques to decent effect. Kerridge relies on near pornographic levels of wall of sound distortion for his “S-Ninyourhead vs Merkabah” sound clash remix, weaving elements of both tracks around the mix while vast swathes of drone threaten to drown the duck. Dadub, meanwhile, offer a peak time roller that layers slick percussion and tick tock pressure with pin drop clarity, as ever. An impressive record that ably soundtracks the encroaching cold nights.

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