Split Series #22
01. The Durian Brothers - Staatsqualle
02. The Durian Brothers - Angstbirne
03. The Durian Brothers - Unteridisch
04. Ensemble Skalectrik - Outer Phase
05. Ensemble Skalectrik - Pharos Groove
06. Ensemble Skalectrik - Powertranz
07. Ensemble Skalectrik - Winslow
Another top quality, album-length release, the twenty-second issue in FatCat’s long-running and highly-acclaimed Split 12” Series features two artists who use the record deck as a focal point of their craft, each approaching it in very different ways and to markedly different effect.
Active since 2009, The Durian Brothers are a trio based in Dusseldorf,
Germany. In a praxis that mixes structured composition with playful improvisation, one member knits things together with the use of a sequencer, while two others each get hands-on with a pair of ‘prepared’ turntables, alongside mixers and various effects. Completely avoiding the use of records, the machines are instead creatively mis-used in a very experimental approach. Melodies are played on tuned rubber bands stretched across the decks; assorted objects are placed on the rotating platters to create scrunching rhythms and textures. What results is a radical and fresh take on contemporary club music. Slightly wonky and somehow African in its non-standard feel / tonality, it sounds like little else around right now.
While they have one foot in the art camp, The Durian Brothers art is aimed squarely at the dancefloor and at bodily interaction. Where their material is sharply focused, driven and direct, Ensemble Skalectrik’s (aka Nick ‘Ekoplekz’ Edwards) side is a far woozier and less utilitarian proposition, occupying a more cloudy, veiled, interior space that seems deliciously derailed and disconnected. Bathed in reverb and shifting EQ, its murky sound-world cocoons the listener in a delirious fog of warping material – slurred, molten, smeared and blurred, its signals ripple around the listener as though transmitted through some viscous liquid.
Exploring turntable improvisation in tandem with loops and FX pedals, his is a highly personalized take that incorporates elements of chance, drone, dub, hauntology, musique concrete and free improvisation. The result is chopped and merged together out of fragments of old vinyl (mainly sound effects and easy listening albums, Stereo test recordings), expanded through a selection of sound-shaping devices (filters, equalizers, loop-pedals). The four home-recorded tracks here are an impressive follow-up to 'Trainwrekz'.
“[The Durian Brothers’] grooves are unstoppable, hinting at dancehall and techno, and banging out overdriven harmonics to raise the dead. It sounds a little like Konono No1 chopped and looped and screwed to headfuck extremes” - Pitchfork
“Equally informed by free improvisation, aleatoric strategy, musique concrète, hauntology and, p'raps most importantly, the psychedelic reductionist principles of dub. We daresay this is one of the best things he’s put his name to.” - Boomkat on Ensemble Skalectrik
“Trainwrekz is one of his most excellent offerings to date, and it operates as a vessel for exploring the fringes of electronic improvisation and chance while exposing a pensive and compelling approach to turntablism.” - Tiny Mix Tapes on Ensemble Skalectrik