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  • Filed under: Review
  • 12/02/2013

Fis Preparations EP

Having previously gained a little bit of attention for his "DMT Usher" single, which saw release last year via Samurai Music, the New Zealand-based Fis (a.k.a. Olly Peryman) has retreated further from his already idiosyncratic vision of drum & bass with his recent Homologous EP for Void Coms and Preparations, his debut release for Tri Angle. The four-track EP presents listeners with some seriously murky skeletal sketches of tunes, which bear only a passing resemblance to the sort of drum & bass that most people are familiar with. Defined by abstract textures, a unique rhythmic sensibility, and deep, ominous bass, the Preparations EP is a release with an eerie, claustrophobic intensity.

Opener "Magister Nuns" begins the proceedings on an appropriately abstracted note, deploying sound-collage techniques that slowly evolve towards crunched, brutally compressed electronics. The track has a masterful sense of dynamics, feeling restrained throughout but still becoming increasingly pressurized as it unfolds. The previously mentioned "DMT Usher," which has become something of a niche classic, reappears here too. The track deserves all the plaudits it has received, especially because of its loping, off-kilter beat and ridiculous use of sidechain compression. Preparations' final two tracks veer closer towards something that is recognizably drum & bass, although Peryman unsurprisingly offers a very strange interpretation of the genre. "Mildew Swoosh" utilizes insectoid breakbeats, which sound thin and positively sinister next to the track's sweeping bassline. "CE Visions" exhibits a similarly wrecked sensibility, deploying heavy, engulfing waves of noise that are slowly overcome by the pitter-patter of rapid-fire breaks as the track goes on.

In interviews, Peryman has talked about the impact of his New Zealand home on his music, noting the colonial trickle-down of influences from the UK, which are then twisted into something darker and even a little bit morbid. This is in full effect on Preparations, which has uncanny echoes of drum & bass and jungle—particularly when it comes to effects and EQ'ing—but also exudes a uniqueness that could only have been borne out of isolation.

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