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Silk Road Assassins
James Ball , February 6th, 2019 07:58

A powerful collection of disjointed sounds from the West Country trio

The debut EP from Silk Road Assassins, 2016’s ‘Reflection Spaces’, was a molten brew of grime, techno and Vangelis sci-fi soundscapes. Three years on, their debut LP picks up where they left off, further advancing dance music’s deep-seated fascination with dystopias.

The genres they’re building on, like drill and trap, focus on the here and now, but State Of Ruin looks to a grim near-future depicted through at once mournful and perky moods punctuated by sharp hi-hat rolls. They take the brute force of trap and the infectious push of dance music and reassemble them into vehicles of melancholy. Take lead single ‘Bloom’, a mournful burner driven by a reggaeton shuffle, or the boom-and-bust spirit of ‘Armament’, where a haunted synthline sits atop hefty 808s. The project finishes on ‘Bink’, where ultraviolet leads peek through sandy hi-hats and wholesome pads, approaching trancy territory without ever going too Van Buuren.

State Of Run doesn’t reinvent the wheel: it touches on the arch grandeur of Varg, the trap-leaning stutter of Planet Mu labelmates Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones, and the deconstructive spirit of 2013/14-era Goon Club Allstars. But the trio’s attention to detail shines through, and the full-length format gives them space and time to execute their rich visions. The features from Kuedo and WWWings are also golden: Kuedo deploys an array of techno-centric samples over a lush backing on ‘Split Matter’, while WWWings apply their grinding mechanic gristle to ‘Shadow Realm’. The future isn’t particularly bright, and that makes this album all the more dazzling.

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