Ulex continues the exploration of a/rhythm,
space, silence and pulse from previous works
Glacial (2012) and Xeric (2014).
Edition of 200 copies
Mastered by Jacques Beloeil
“The results are playfully elusive but could also be described as
awkward and anxious — finding and occupying an ambiguously
fluctuating space between shivering, gamelan-esque rhythms,
frozen timbres and reflective harmonic resonance”
Portrait by David Keen
—Ulex Pattern 1
The steel pan revenge plan; a falling over and over and over
into endless insect Gamelan. Donkey kick drum, once then
twice… then that’s it.
—Ulex Pattern 2
Bamboo rattles in a magnetic hole. Invisible forces snatch
and grab at any vibrations causing a stretching of each dry,
brittle note. Sufi mystic collapse.
—Ulex Pattern 3
She’s lurching, dragging a sandbag over bright pink coral.
I tap the side of my canoe with an outstretched palm and
bail out the overflowing rice with an old soup can.
—Ulex Pattern 4
Fog demons breathe over mangrove roots to haunt the
islanders with deep booming warnings. The earwigs glassy
cascade becomes relaxed antiseptic counterpoint.
—Ulex Pattern 5
I’m slightly shocked as the spare crackle of needle hitting
vinyl is overwhelmed with a distorted voice all meshed up
and jaxxed, rolling in three dimensions like some forgotten
Fylkingen piece. My inner Agatha Christie picks up a little
something though. I might be old but I’m crafty. All I’m
saying is Alright Duckie!
—Ulex Pattern 6
Steelies penked off a copper plate.
—Ulex Pattern 7
The longest rippling. Distant fireworks ignition in slightly
off-kilter realities, the original cucaracha stepping on echo-
bugs till each pops like dark ink.
Ulex is deconstructed so completely it’s almost empty.
Some of these tracks are so spare they make regular
minimal look messy. It’s so damn pure and yet, tied up
in silver-plated knots. Jagged and fresh but never sharp.
Radio Free Midwich
Whether it’s the containment of fractured bass drums, high-
freq rhythm or the subdued stillness of a frozen soundscape,
there is certainly a feeling of sonic distillation that runs
throughout. From the ice-cold, computerised rhythms of the
excellent first track through to the serene purity of the high-
pitched sinewave and the low, overdriven drones of Pattern
4, it’s an exercise in restraint and an excellently executed
feeling of a constant impulse waiting to crack through.
Perhaps this is best portrayed on the first track of the B side,
which introduces a shuddering, tape distorted kick drum at
low volume, before an unexpectedly morphed vocal takes the
dynamic charge right into your eardrum, like a psychotic voice
speaking from within your brain.
Bridging Pattern 5 and 7, we are dropped right back into the
radar bleeps and endless space of Pattern 6, commanding to
inhale in preparation for the final excursion. Pattern 7 makes
up the final charge, by now we are not 100% compos mentis,
the rhythms and surrounding stillness of these pieces have
taken over, the feeling of calmness is induced in equal
measures with the paranoia and energy, as each redaction of
sound has put the senses on high alert.
An exercise in inward focus and attention, this is entirely
gripping and reflective, totally rewarding!
A jittery beast of a record, beset with glassy FM stabs in
nervous counterpoint with deep growls of a more analogue
bent. Tracks build up through a Philip Glass-ish additive tech-
nique, drenched in splintering space echo. The artefacts of
digital effects are left to flicker and bloom into brittle features
in their own right. Imagine a film set in a nightclub, where
the protagonist has crept behind the scenes of the disco into
a nightmarish concrete sub-basement and discovered some
weird occult force buried there unbeknown to the ravers still
raving just audibly up above. This fourth album on Entr’acte
from the former No Bra member is minimal and mysterious
in all the right ways.
Robert Barry in The Wire