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Permanent Imbalance Luke Turner , May 22nd, 2018 07:52

From Russia, with modular synths and field recordings

HMOT does not muck around. The Russian producer, aka Stas Sharifullin, recently unveiled a track called ‘Hell Is You, Yourself’ and in a 2016 interview with The Quietus he blasted the power imbalance between the musicians of his homeland and global audiences: “I’m just a hooligan. I don’t like it when Russian artists say that it is much greener on the other side of the fence. Showing our music to the west is a passive concept and a humble position of a slave to the master.”

A similarly uncompromising, and entirely rewarding, note is struck on new LP Permanent Imbalance, a decidedly un-passive EP released via the OQKO label. Its five tracks are built of modular synths and field recordings fed through various computer languages, resulting in a record that’s at once tough and incredibly spacious, like finding yourself in a giant pitch-dark building in which water drips and machines rattle somewhere out in the fearful, unquantifiable distance. This sense of presence is most marked on the midway track ‘No Innocence’, which appears to made of rolling metal bars, shotty breakbeats and compressor hiss all warily circling each other, wondering if they dare slither together into a structured track.

The opening, title track is similarly sculptural in feel: thick electronic tones loom and lurch overhead as stabs and pops of noise scatter in panic beneath, then a middle section that’s pure sheet metal industrial livens up the lot. ‘Logos’ is an exercise in concise precision, drones lightening into a tactile, glassy rattling, as if a lighthearted and drunken Neubauten were tapping the wares in a high-end glassware shop, terrifying the proprietor. Elsewhere, the EP lurks somewhere between a falling-to-bits take on techno and rhythmical noise - neither of which are in short supply at the moment, but there's a sense of purpose in Sharifullin’s productions that’s absent from everyday posturing gloom-mongers and dilettantish purveyors of wearily knowing deconstructed club music. This sonic hooligan goes about his wrecking with style.