, February 28th, 2017 12:36
While most press releases that come with album promos are either perfunctory or overblown with flowery hyperbole, sometimes you come across a statement that makes you sit up and go “yeah… I get that”. And, alongside the declarations of sci-fi aesthetics and the ideas that techno is still a feasible force for the new and unknown, one of those statement comes from dance music producer Moiré attached to his second album No Future: "It's weird," says Moiré. "It feels like everything is disappearing in front of us, almost like someone is pulling the carpet from beneath our feet, and we can't do anything about it. Things are changing so fast; I'm not sure we'll be able to catch up. In that way, the title of the album is very appropriate. I don't need to push it even. I mean, just look around." I don’t know if Moiré is an aficionado of the work of Mark Fisher, but this a statement that could pretty much have been lifted form one of his essays describing the brutalising effect of uncontested capital has had on London, it’s people and their minds.
In an interview to the run up to the release of No Future, Moire noted “‘No Future’ as an old punk slogan feels more relevant to me than ever before.” But, while it does make a link to a long history of punk spirit, the overall affect that oozes from this album is one not of anger borne of disgust and a nihilistic urge to tear everything down, but instead an anger that masks a crippling despair that we’re hurtling towards oblivion – that even if we wanted to, there’s not much we can stop it.
This feeling of weight and gloom allied with an attention to detail is something that has been a hallmark of Moiré’s productions these past few years. Raw hi-hats, deflated kick beats, indolent, heavy bass, and drifting, effervescent vocals, all folded neatly into a house music frame; Club music that huffs on fumes if you will. Moiré’s past productions have found a home in places like Darren Cunningham’s (aka Actress) Werk Discs, where Moirés music was part of a family of producers who haunt club music as ambivalent outsiders, who know their way around a rave groove, but insist on tearing the structures apart, erasing beats under a mess of hiss and fidelity backwash.
But while the likes of Actress and Burial apply a dissolution to club sounds to the point of abstraction, Moiré’s take on house and techno is more direct and punchy, his tracks are definitely able to work in a club context. Instead, his music hints at a dissipation of the mind, as the self-medicating fug of drugs and booze where the twilight hour of the club is an attempt to escape the emptiness of an unforgiving urban sprawl. This is certainly true of No Future’s opening track ‘Sequence 1’, as a nodding beat brings in synths that rise and fall under a wheezing breath, a lonely bass line jabs and prods the low lying murk. This level of loose, dreamlike tensions continues through the album with tracks such as ‘Magma Dream’, ‘Façade’ and ‘System 100’ all contain a series of restless tics and slumbering rhythms embedded in hazy, unresolved electronic washes.
From here, No Future could have descended into an album of tired sighs and wan ambient dreams, but instead Moiré turns up the pressure and applies a level of intent that has been alluded to and bubbling under the surface of past releases. Some of the tracks in the album are some of the best that Moiré has made to date; ‘Secret Window’ for example fizzes with energy, the production complete with blown out cracks, acidic high hats and warehouse atmospherics, while ‘Opium’ and ‘Casual’ meld pumping deep house textures with electro flourishes. ‘No Jupiter’ meanwhile utilises a tight, looping bass riff, alongside murky vocals and elongated string pads.
This increased urgency is brought to the fore in ‘Lost You’ which is No Future’s stand out track and provides the bedrock for the rest of the album; a production of pitching synth tones, resplendent with finger clicks and hand claps, where the vocals provided by veteran MC and LTJ Bukem collaborator DRS gets right to the heart of the central aesthetic source and bleak purpose of the album. DRS’s numb, affectless delivery is given a metallic sheen that imbues a level of antagonism and aggression. But listening to the lyrics that DRS spits out it tells another story;
Most times I don’t even want to get into the bullshit that most people talk about.
I don’t even want to breathe the same air as the hypocrites, wish that I could go without.
Wishing I could go without, running round a maze but it’s looking like there’s no way out.
Not believing in illusion, there’s too many mind tricks I can see the strings moving.
Beneath this brittle shell of anger and belligerence is the language of the depressive, the behaviour of learned helplessness (where you can feel that you see the truth of the world for what it really is), and the robbing of the capacity for action. This language is continued by James Messiah on ‘Façade’ where he tells of his world of “class A’s in filthy alleyways”, where “some of us exist only as hieroglyphics, who live and die as pixels and avatars”. Like the black and white designs that adorn Moiré’s sleeves the music is monochromatic, minimal, sparse, where the production is tough, and most importantly, insular.
That’s when you realise that while No Future is ostensibly a club album, there are no calls in these tracks to come together with your fellow human for communal feeling and experience, no soaring diva calls for Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. And while the bass is heavy and pumping, there isn’t what I would call an urge to get down and sweaty. No, what this No Future provides is an album as care-for-the-self, a form of sonic protection and therapy that provides a barrier between the individual who is running on empty, and the bleakness and empty overloads of the outside world. How many times have you put on an album on your phone or mp3 player during the day to provide a soundtrack and give you the energy and spark the internal biorhythms just to help you survive the morning commute, the waiting in the queue, the long journey home, a single unit in an atomised mass of other suffering individuals? That’s what No Future does; it provides a soundtrack that can be used as an internal weapon, a shield for the mind to combat against the helplessness and anxiety generated by a cold austerity where it really does feel like everything is falling apart and we’re all fraying at the edges. As an album of “London Techno” Moiré has made an album that is a statement of the city’s mind-set for many right now.