9/10 Laurie Staff review, 26 October 2016
Some of you may know this Rook Vallade type from his actual name Chris Douglas, though more will know him from his music under the alias Dalglish. Gotta say, Rook Vallade is a ludicrous moniker Mr Douglas. In a very RDJ move, he’s compiled Vestiges from his DAT archives, made between the years 1992-2000.
It seems that Chris Douglas foresaw the industrial techno explosion of a few years back by maybe 10-20 years. While the opener ‘Rwhintr’ is as nonsensical as its name, what follows is a lengthy jam that sounds like it was made on only the most classic bits of hardware, but with the addition of gnarly, brutal rasps and circular saw noises rising up and falling away like the fledgling babies that would grow up to be Paula Temple’s walls of noise. ‘Dxas’ takes us down a completely different route, with the chopped remains of various recordings attempting to be a drum kit. It’s managed to convince the bassline anyway, which gurgles underneath for a bit before it lets some more alien rasping enter.
It’s trippy alright. Real oddball electronic grooves here, for those that like rhythm but also completely out-there sound design. It would definitely have been snapped up by Warp had they been scouting out some proper talent instead of smoking fat bags. Often with these exclusive archive releases, it’s just an excuse for fetishising nostalgia, selling it back to the people that were into those sounds at the time for a crazy price. But this time, it seems that Douglas had actually tapped into something wholly new and exploratory, not needing to pander to the typical IDM/glitch status quo of the time. THOU SHALT CHOP UP THE AMEN BREAK FOR A WHOLE ALBUM. THOU SHALT MAKE MURKY ‘FUTURE’ CHORDS. THOU SHALT KILL YOUR OWN SCENE.
Which they did. To the extent that I can hardly listen to Autechre anymore. But these productions right here stand apart from the bunch with imaginative sounds and interesting rhythms that aren’t at a gratuitous 2000bpm.
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- Vestiges by Rook Vallade
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