Bandshell Caustic View
Bandshell's debut EP for Hessle Audio was among the label's weirdest releases to date, which is saying something considering its persistent focus on experimental dancefloor fare. Much of this had to do with how the record mostly faced away from the club; gruff and disjointed, its tracks represented a UK take on the eroded strains of house and techno that have lately been doing the rounds, applying a similarly distorted lens to grime and IDM (though the final results remain unclassifiable). For his follow-up, Caustic View, Bandshell maintains this approach, but manages to ratchet up the entertainment in the process.
"Winton" has the effect of someone banging away at a drum kit; its clattering rhythm sounds at once untethered and squashed. It's infused with a blistering, bleeping melody, and the total is reminiscent of some of Lukid's more belligerent material. "Perc" uses the same sort of bleeps, but places them amid a far less punishing backdrop. The track's melody is all muted, AFXian introspection, and its drums move with a gentle trip. "Nice Mullet" pushes proceedings back toward the caustic—its rhythm, a whirlwind of shrill miniatures, sounds like it's being suffocated by the square, laser-like bass weight that dominates the low end. Finally, "Landfill" melds an array of piercing, modulated parts and halted drums, eventually giving way to a crunchy, lurching hook. As with most of the EP, it's pervaded by Bandshell's corroded style of processing—there is a catchiness, but it's frayed, fleeting, and caked in dirt. The producer gives the sour along with the sweet, and this tension makes Caustic View a vital listen.
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