Lakker – Containing a Thousand EP
Label: R&SScore: 7.5/10
The latest offering from experimental, Dublin based techno duo Lakker comes in the form of their new EP Containing a Thousand on seminal Belgium label R&S – the original home of Aphex Twin before he jumped ship to Warp.
Usually associated with warped industrial techno, as evidenced by their stellar EP for Candela Rising last year on top of a fantastic release from Stroboscopic Artefacts, Containing a Thousand sees the Irish pair expanding their scope of vision by introducing elements of the UKs hardcore continuum based sound into their tightly wrought tapestry of gloomy, post-industrial decline
Opening number, the titular “Containing a Thousand” continues with the trend popularised by acts such as Akkord and Livity Sound, combining dancehall based 3-3-2 riddims with ambient techno sensibilities. But whereas Akkord and co revel in the darkness and shadows their extremely techy, pristine sound affords, Lakker use pastoral based, analogue sounding ambient beds to complement their modern take on techno percussion tracks and resultantly table a more lush and warm sound than the aforementioned influences. As the track progresses however, more dirt and grit are added to proceedings showing that their industrial techno influences still loom heavily over their productions.
“Mausoleum” – an extremely apt title – slowly builds its rhythm track up from the ground up, introducing random foley noises that moonlight as drum one-shots, before the tune reveals itself, surprisingly, as a gloomy, industrial take on abstract dubstep. Utilising the genres’ half step template to frame the track’s strange, sci fi sounding melodies that melt away into the tracks underbelly, its washes of tuned noise that also acts as the tune’s low-end anchor and its heavily distorted, mangled drum tracks, Lakker have created a monster of a tune that truly marks the pair out as sonic auteurs ‘par excellence’. Its weird, heady darkness and a massive departure from what I expected from a Lakker that have definitely succeeded in stepping out of their comfort zone.
“Kantu”, for some reason, comes across to me as Lakker homage to R&S itself. By almost pastiching a style of sequencing associated with the golden age of the labels existence, the duo pay their respects to one of the scenes original labels by perverting its own avante-guarde experimental techno vibes with sheets of grime, moss and dirt. The sequenced ‘twangy’ bass tones are heavily clipped around the edges and aggressively pop into focus when the stem’s complex modulations allow them too, this, when combined with razor sharp, yet somewhat lo-fi drums and an analogue sounding arpeggio that dissolves into a spray of reverb, before returning to supplement the now insistent groove, gives the tune a slippery, unpredictable feel and is a massive advert for the copious usage of slamming compression and digital distortion the pair liberally use! It’s a great tune that slowly reveals its true nature and a really nice juxtaposition between light melody and dark harmony.
“Thermohaline” is more of what I have come to expect from the Irish pair. Relentless, distorted, dark industrial vibes, awash with heavy reverb treatments, plinky, emotionally charged, layered melodics and noisy ambience. However, once again the influence of the darker end of the UKs Bass music canon is again on show, with a belligerent reversed snare drum, and deep sub-bass really adding a unique UK-esq punch to the relentless techno rhythm track. Its sick, and probably my favourite tune on the EP.
All things said, Lakker once again deliver the goods and by stepping slightly away from the sound that popularised them is testament to their ability to defy expectation, even if that expectation has only just be afforded to them. By channelling their energy into something a little bit different they have done R&S a great service and are an extremely welcome addition and fit to their now all-encompassing fold.