More dark and heavy beat-work from Bristol / Berlin’s Emptyset. On Borders, the duo have incorporated some acoustic instruments into their tangled web of brutalist electronics, pushing their sound into some new areas, though don’t worry: this is still music to wreck buildings to. Borders is Emptyset’s first release for the Thrill Jockey label.
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I can’t help but feel like Emptyset are sort of a Pan Sonic-lite. If Pan Sonic were still Panasonic then Emptyset could be the Goodmans / Grundig equivalent i.e perfectly functional but don’t quite reach the high quality of the source. That’s in no way a diss to Emptyset -- It's more that I hold Mika Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen’s work in the highest esteem. I have enjoyed plenty of Emptyset’s records over the years, but I reckon that they’ve more to give than lurking in the shadow of the Finnish duo.
It’s been four years since James Ginzburg and Paul Purgas last released an album i.e ‘Recur’ on Raster Noton and now they’ve popped up on Thrill Jockey with ‘Borders’. They’ve switched things up somewhat in terms of sound palette, using custom instruments/acoustic sounds alongside their analogue electronics. The heavyweight, brutalist template of relentless repetition /nuance and physical pummeling remains largely the same. The result is a more gnarly, grittier sound with all the weight and bloodymindedness of very early Earth or ‘Boris’ era Melvins. It certainly needs cranking up to eleven for the full experience/maximum impact, but even then, listening to ‘Borders’ at home still left me feeling very little, and even with the new approach, it feels somewhat derivative of Mika Vainio’s ‘Life (...It Eats You Up)’ album on Editions Mego.
I think what Empyset are doing here really demands to be experienced in a live situation - over a huge system where I expect it would thrash the living shit out of you.
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