The Boats’ Abstraction is pressed to translucent red vinyl, and interestingly packaged alongside some art cards in a transparent sleeve. The music however is far from see-through: instead, Abstraction is a thickly opaque wall of distortion and hammering beats. Limited to 300 copies on Other Ideas.
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I can well imagine a few of The Boats devotees being somewhat alienated by their recent forays into a brutal industrial techno sound. But for these ears this tougher palette carries greater emotional impact. In stark contrast to their earlier, more pastoral electronica, this records predecessor ‘Nomenclature’ and two thirds of Andrew Hargreaves Beppu trilogy, perhaps unintentionally conveyed the inherent beauty in the bleakness of our beloved industrial North. Like those records ‘Abstraction’ welds harsh unforgiving sounds with all the melancholy, beauty and longing they’ve encaptured in previous work. Radically different - yet in many ways I perceive the outcome to be similar.
‘P Versus NP’ sets the mood in dark waters with slivers of light provided by stirring loops. Fuzzed out and building in intensity, it’s an arresting opener that almost grows into euphoria that’s just out of reach. ‘Section Conjecture’ has the pair turn the Nasty button up to eleven for a noisy, distorted acid storm. ‘Parabolic Type’ is nightmare acid paranoia on the surface, the drums are like a decelerating train that could derail at any given moment, but rather than the oblivion the track initially suggests there’s something more cathartic at play - a searching, lost feeling that’s difficult to articulate. ‘Inverse Galois Problem’ has thunderous drums emerge from a swarm of power electronics schooled killer bees, then, quite unexpectedly things shift up a couple of gears as it erupts into an epic black techno secret weapon. ‘Lonely Runner Problem’ initially offers brief respite with its gloomy atmospheric building intro, gradually introducing effects soaked drums before seeing the record out in fine style by exploding into some full-on, fuzzed out, rugged and raw techno to make you lose your shit.
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