There’s a poetic beauty in the fact that the inventor of the blastbeat — that blazing, ridiculously aggressive machine gun drum style that came to spur entire genres of extreme metal — later went on to create some of the most chill beats known to man. In addition to Harris’ essential heavy dub Scorn project, which pretty much was dubstep before dubstep became a one dimensional punchline of IDM culture, his solo work explores spacious, minimal expanses tied together with massive beats in an even more reductive way. This double CD release collects a series of 12″ singles he did for Canada’s Hed Nod label, offering an appropriately expansive runtime that allows a deep slide into the zone at nearly 2 and a half hours long. No matter where you stand on Harris’ work, from the inhumanly fast, dense blurs of sound in Napalm Death, to the wide open spaces propelled by relentless, sickened beats of Scorn and these solo recordings, you’ve got to give the guy props for being at the forefront of both the grindcore and dubstep genres.
Posts Tagged ‘electronic’
Who’s Sorry Now? LP
Flipside Records, 1995
Back in 1995 when about 85% of the music released on punk labels was Buzzcocks or Green Day-inspired pop-punk, Flipside magazine’s record label released a second helping of Babyland’s electrojunk punk, which promptly ended up in cutout bins by the dozens. It’s a damn shame too, because what Babyland brought to the turntable was co-opted in the later ’90s by a punk scene that shifted away from the safe confines of pop-punk to the wild possibilities of Screamers and Suicide-inspired synthpunk of the later nineties in bands like Subtonix, The Vanishing, Replikants, ADULT, Black Ice, Sixteens, The Lack, and the whole Digital Hardcore scene that came to light with the popularity of Atari Teenage Riot — not to mention the overall acceptance of synth elements in punk with early 2000s groups like xbxrx, Lost Sounds, Digital Leather, Phantom Limbs, etc. I think a lot of punks were wary of Babyland’s big drumbeats almost sounded like techno, which was justifiably loathed at the time. But digging deeper, Babyland supported those huge beats with a scrappy and abrasive barrage of samples and textures, paring the experimental clang of Einstürzende Neubauten with the manic percussive fits of Crash Worship. While Babyland’s later releases smoothed the edges into more of an industrial-style punk, and their grating, but excellent debut LP You Suck Crap is heavier on the 8-bit bleeps, Who’s Sorry Now? has a full, seductive sound with a darkwave edge that has made it an unsung winner in my book.