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Manslaughter 777
World Vision Perfect Harmony Bernie Brooks , April 15th, 2021 08:47

Lee Buford and Zachary Jones unite as Manslaughter 777, serving up a fantastic feast of breaks and bass on their debut LP, World Vision Perfect Harmony, says Bernie Brooks

Some records you regret pitching. They resist analysis. Refuse it. Or perhaps, you subconsciously resist analysing them. These records leap unexpectedly from the stereo. A surprise attack, an exaggerated WHOMP as they bean you with an oversized mallet. Stars everywhere, and somewhere in your brain, somewhere primordial: "This is... sick." Something approaching real awe, then something approaching love. And like love, you don't want to ruin it by picking at it or reasoning with it or examining it for inconsequential flaws. You don't want to ruin it by thinking. To diminish it in this way seems almost perverse.

Which is all to say that, for me, Manslaughter 777's feast of breakbeats, World Vision Perfect Harmony, is one of those albums. And now, here I am, charged with thinking about it, jotting down notes, examining each track like a pervert. When really, three words would do: This record rips.

The architects of Manslaughter 777 are two drummers: longtime buds / collaborators Lee Buford of genreless doom mutants The Body and Zachary Jones, late of Braveyoung, now of MSC. That this rhythmic crusher has essentially nothing to do with metal or any related or complementary subgenres - but is instead more closely linked to, say, dub and dancehall and jungle - might come as a surprise, depending on your point of view, on how closely you've been paying attention. 

By my estimation, this is the sort of record Buford has been threatening to make for a good long while. There are abundant, obvious clues peppered throughout his massive discography: the prominent Eek-A-Mouse sample on The Body's 'The West Has Failed', Buford's club-ready beats with Sightless Pit, the almost-maybe-gabber scattered across the Full Of Hell collab Ascending A Mountain Of Heavy Light, the double LP of remixes, to name just a few.

Jones, for his part, has been traversing bleary-eyed dub spaces with his twin brother Isaac via their post-Braveyoung work as MSC, a project as indebted to avant-garde tape loop experiments and neo-classical music as it is to Vladislav Delay's Multila. By my estimation, a release of their collected EPs entitled I CLOSE MY MIND AND LOCK IT is one of the better things you could pony up for on a Bandcamp day (or any other day). And on that, the nine-minute 'Sacred Head Now Wounded' is the jam that comes closest to laying a groundwork for Manslaughter 777 on Jones's end. Behind beautiful, sad loops of vox and strings: subs and a booming beat, bleeding through the wall. There's also the soundsystem. For a while now, the Jones boys have been building quite the rig. Like, a Miami bass battle, "more a wall than a grouping of speakers" type rig. The implications of such a thing are twofold: 1.) excessive bass, 2.) excessive volume. Whenever it pops up on the 'Gram, I think, "Oh shit! What are these two up to?" Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to the next MSC record, and for those looking out, the signs and portents were all there, setting the table for the beat buffet that Buford and Jones might one day serve up. (And that's foolishly skipping right over the superlative collaboration between The Body and MSC that dropped in 2020.)

Then there's Seth. Seth Manchester, the genius producer I once called a "wandering prophet of the Dub Zone" or something similarly nonsensical. Still, I stand by that nonsense. Because it's true. I hesitate to put words in other people's mouths or ascribe motivations to their actions, but it seems like this was something of a dream project for Manchester. (Check out his 'Western Dub' on The Body's remix record.) World Vision Perfect Harmony is mostly just rhythm and bass and space. But what rhythm! What bass! What space! As for the other stuff, anything that isn't enabled by that holy trinity is in service of it. When the scuzzed up kicks in tracks like 'I Can Not Tell You How I Feel' or 'What Is Joke To You Is Dead To Me' land, you feel it in your guts, it reverberates - OOF - a sack of concrete chucked from a roof into an empty dumpster. If you're like me, this is one of the most sacred subcategories of sounds, one you hold close to your heart. Others, like those that punctuate the snipped but swinging breaks of 'Gainax' sound like they were recorded in a trash can - in the best trash can. It's great. Elsewhere, drum sounds are gloriously blown out, scorched, fried to bits, but you can tell: they're blown out, scorched, and fried to bits with love. The way this thing knocks, you just know the guy behind the boards was feeling it.

What else can I say? Right now, you're either nodding your head like, "Hell yeah!", or making some sort of yucky face. I could say that the performances and productions on World Vision Perfect Harmony are all incredible and, when the time is right, wildly propulsive. That the hectic breakbeats are exactly as hectic as they need to be, the languid, hot-boxed numbers exactly as languid and hot-boxed. I could say that the live and programmed drums are seamlessly meshed together - less a Frankenstein's monster than a Mechagodzilla. That the atmospheric elements - the vocal samples, synthy bits, and whatnot - are deployed beautifully, injecting the proceedings with real emotional heft. Especially on the closer, 'Do You Know Who Loves You', when a potpourri of sampled gunshots, black metal gurgles, and stuttered, glitched-out percussion improbably morphs into something stunningly, transcendently beautiful thanks to the timely introduction of a sunrise choir just as the beat emerges from its peak-Squarepusher fugue, takes shape, and walks calmly into the light.

I could say all that, and I just did, but all I really needed to say is: This record rips.