Human Rays (aka Robin Smeds Mattila) made these tracks with a deliberately limited, lo-fi set-up. Isolated minimal ambience is the name of the game, with occasional far-off hints of the techno that Mattila is also known for. Cold but compelling. A Tension is released by Further Records in an edition of 300 LPs.
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- A Tension by Human Rays
7/10 Laurie Staff review, 24 August 2016
I was gonna write something about how it’s fun trying to review cold ambient music while the sun’s blazing in and hip-hop is snapping into the left earphone, but the truth is, it’s not. It’s really fucking difficult and now I’m all sullen. Not even this fish sandwich can help. Argh.
Human Rays is a noisy folk who has released many cassettes prior to this, of apparently a bit more techno-oriented stuff, but this is Robin Smeds Mattila’s debut on Further Records as well as their debut on wax. They’ve minimised their setup here too, using only a few lo-fi soundmaking things to improvise stark, isolated beds of sound that feature trace elements of rhythm, downcast, small melodies and distant hisses and rumbles. ‘Between the Hours’ features what could almost be a single percussion loop from a techno track, overlaid with some paranoid chords that sorta remind me of chanting monks. If it wasn’t so obviously a synth. It all recalls the isolated, slightly melodic works of Strie.
‘Neverendless’ enters the wind tunnel for some OK feedbacking drone that gets a bit more interesting when some vague tones lurk in the corner in the second half. The repeating chords that dominate closing track ‘Manual Litany’ almost manage to exorcise my demons and actually sound sunny. They’ve been cycling round their warm pattern for around 3 minutes now with minimal variation, only a very subtle build over the 13 minute duration, so this is one for the folks that like to be dropped into one idea and like to stay there.
One for the hardcore droneheads.
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