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Slaylor Moon
Zone of Pure Resistance Bob Cluness , October 14th, 2019 08:38

Beneath the fog and shady sounds, Slaylor Moon's latest album for Maple Death Records feels intimate and ominous, finds Bob Cluness

One of the main aesthetic aspects of the post-punk revolution of the late 70s/early 80s was the embrace of cheap, new music technologies such as synthesizers, drum machines, and tape recording machines that placed the creation and production of music in the hands of anyone who have some money and a lot of imagination. This in turn led to a thriving underground of wave of bedroom musicians in the UK and Europe.

It is this DIY aesthetic that feeds Zone of Pure Resistance, the debut album from Slaylor Moon aka musician Sydney Koke. Of course, the days of the shut-in musician of the early 1980s who releases their music via the esoteric worlds of mail order fanzines and word of mouth has given way to the expansive excursions of many a modern DIY artist and label thanks to cheap travel and the embedding of SoundCloud and Bandcamp for word of mouth distribution platforms (Koke is Canadian but lives in Strasbourg, while the label Maple Death Records is also Canadian but is now based in London and Bologna). But despite the increased movement and sense of space compared to the 1980s subcultures, there is still that sense of inwardness borne of dislocation and disconnection,

Along with the bedroom aesthetic of Zone Of Pure Resistance, the initial sound palette of the album is deliberately limited. On the likes of ‘Spit in my Mouth’, and ‘When I Think of You’, you have the simplicity of whirling drones coupled to pulpy, molasses thick bass and flickering drum patterns that burrow underneath Koke’s neurasthenic vocals. Whereas the likes of Aja express such a becoming in the transformation of trauma as a spectacle of queer defiance, Slaylor Moon strips away any clear air away from her productions. In its place, there is a hermetic, cocoon-like world of primordial weirdness and the artist in a state of exploration and becoming.

The numb, slightly ominous drift on both ‘Mothgirl’ and ‘Mothgirl’s Dream’ are more like coming across the vivid yet almost incomprehensible sketches of a discarded dream journal, the fluttering electronics and buzzing low end that melt into Koke’s burst of neural unpredictability. The final track, a particularly dirge-like cover of Modjo’s turn of the millennium house hit ‘Lady’ that strips the effervescence and vitalism of the house hit, leaving in its place a slow cabaret that unfurls with an unreal, almost terrifying quality.

Zone of Pure Resistance is an uncanny yet beguiling album that underneath the layers of shady sounds, holds you in close and whispers directly into your subconsciousness. It’s music for those quiet moments in the dark or when you want to commune to the visions that exist inside your own head.