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The Breedling
IRUKANDJI JR Moores , August 7th, 2023 07:20

Chris Spalton need not worry, says JR Moores, his debut stab at industrial sound-art meets the mark

Each December when The Quietus runs its 100 albums of the year, there will always be some wise arse who’ll tweet about how it should also name the PR company behind each act. The more paranoid among us might like to picture John and Luke, candlelit in their Illuminati robes, rubbing their hands like Mr Burns and enjoying – for the sole shady reason that could possibly explain it – the recent output of Suede. Without being party to exactly what happens behind the scenes, it seems clear that tQ’s annual chart typically includes a larger share of do-it-yourselfers than most publications’ roundups, featuring artists that writers have not discovered through pressure from MONOLITHIC PUBLICITY LTD but rather spending too long on Bandcamp or being in the right basement at the right time to catch the next big name in dub-tinted post-hyperdrone.

Dances/Curses by Hey Colossus topped our chart in 2020. All comms regarding that release came directly via bassist Joe Thompson’s broadband line in Somerset. At the time, he didn’t even own a “computer phone” (as he calls them). The video for Hey Colossus’ ‘U Cowboy’ was co-directed by Chris Spalton who’s also made clips for Part Chimp and others, as well as designing record sleeves and suchlike. Spalton has now, for the first time, started making music of his own. So here’s how some artists get coverage in semi-reputable websites or magazines. Submit good music. Be polite. Spalton got in touch about this release, with no small degree of concern – bless him – that it “really might be shit.”

His first release as The Breedling is definitely not shit. In fact, it’s rather interesting. No, I don't mean “interesting” in the way people use it when they’re trying to be polite about their mate’s dreadful slot supporting a Courteeners tribute band. It’s genuinely interesting. Like the films of Ben Wheatley are interesting. Or a big painting by Robert Motherwell.

More accurately, The Breedling’s music is in the vein of Scorn, JK Flesh, Helm, Raime and other experts in creating abstract moody atmospheres. Like them, Spalton builds tension with space and slowness. Irukandji’s first song opens with a foghorn-ish throb, eventually accompanied by low-mixed screams, tastefully sporadic blasts of static noise and beats that might’ve been nabbed from Kevin Martin’s digital library. It’s a little tinnier than The Bug. Mind you, most things are. And let’s not mention my budget headphones.

Other moments, like ‘Fools Funnel’, evoke John Carpenter. (Well, doesn’t everything?) Or perhaps a one-man Necro Deathmort being pursued by poisonous digi-snakes. Among the general dystopian aura are some calmer and twinklier passages in the form of ‘Guthlac’ and ‘Doubt’. That said, they still provide that ominous feeling of not yet being out of the woods.

Phattest of the bunch is ‘Asylum’, with its big rock drums and fizzing synth sounds. Gripping and holding the attention perfectly, it would make drug-takers buckle at the knees as they simultaneously waved at least one hand in the air while making with their mouths the internationally recognised shape of the “OOMPH!”

When it comes to music of this nature, limited vocabularies oblige critics to reach for overused words like “cinematic”. Hopefully that’s still more useful to readers than “IT ISN’T SHIT, CHRIS!” With a little less modesty, perhaps Spalton could be the next Haxan Cloak.