Another missive from Russell Haswell, this time in the form of a state-of-the-Haswell full-length album. The man is particularly entranced with acid and techno sounds at the moment, and that really comes out on As Sure As Night Follows Day’s 19 tracks. Banging tunes with a rough, noisy edge. On Diagonal.
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- As Sure As Night Follows Day by Russell Haswell
9/10 Ant Staff review, 24 September 2015
Impeccable timing - Just as I hit play on Russell Haswell’s third release on Diagonal, my next door neighbour zips out of their driveway so UP goes the volume.
‘As Sure As Night Follows Day’ is 17 tracks strong and is apparently “a sort of fractured regression to his formative influences” those being Midlands grindcore, rave, Japanese Noise and early Jeff Mills / Robert Hood. Clearly the man’s ears have been in the right place over the years.
Opening with with ultra squelchy bubbling liquid synth of ‘Oblique Axis’ into the fractured ripping percussion of ‘LETS GO’, things really get going on ‘Wholly Unaware’ where the man that formally never made tracks with beats blasts them out, complimented with a shredding synth reminiscent of Underground Resistance's classic ‘Death Star’. It’s techno Jim, but not as we know it. ‘RAVE SPLURGE NOISE FM’ sounds like tuning into an Incapacitants pirate radio broadcast. ‘Improvisation #1’ is a wee minimal, dry drum machine jam with sharp skittering hi-hats, snares and kicks. The early techno influence is quite apparent on ‘GAS ATTACK’ with a far slower tempo than tracks from the era, giving space for a synth that buzzes and crackles like pure voltage. ‘INTERLUDE’ has his modules spitting out mutating lazer zaps and high frequency, rippling pulses. ‘DRIVE (minimal)’ is Haswell’s idiosyncratic take on minimal techno with distorted vocal.
‘Heavy Handed Sunset’ is erm.. deranged. Well it’s all pretty deranged and freaky really, with a wicked sense of humour that’s always refreshing. ‘Underwater Electronic Struggle’ sounds like Drexciya mangled to smithereens a blender. I’d pay good money to watch pilled up ravers responding to the sonic assault of ‘Confirmation Of Our Worst Fears’ with it’s relentless stop/ start brutal kicks and sizzling synth racket. ‘HARDWAX FLASHBACK’ (see Robert Hood’s first label -- Dr. Kevorkian, Missing Channel, The Vision etc.) is as close to straight up classic techno as the album gets with Haswell’s somewhat skewed take on the sound. ‘Extended Industry Knowledge (for OSCAR)’ is also reasonably dancefloor compatible and perhaps what techno sounds like to your granny. The set closes on a high with ‘Noise Rave’ an immense blast of harsh mangled densely textured machine noise, that temporarily retreats, simmering down to what sounds like a wasp doing Belgian techno on karaoke and returning in full on face melting chaos mode. If I'm honest a few of the tracks were lost on me so I wouldn't consider it a consistently brilliant album, however the ones that hit the spot totally compensate. Sorry we don’t have any lighters with our copies. You’ll have to use matches.
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