The Orpheus Choir is a new alias of Aleks Jurczyk, a well-known head to Glasgow’s electronic musicians. Having released as Line Idle and under his own name for the likes of Elephant Recordings (the harsh
mono/chromatics of the ‘Brutal Britain’ cassette, which pricked up the ears of Broken20), his Orpheus Choir debut takes the form of fuzzy off-kilter 4/4s amid creeping dread drones.
Opener ‘Polymorphia II’ kicks off in a precise vein that belies the EP’s outré character, using sideways percussive plucks to create scattering movement.
‘Sanna Bay’ traverses a route less intense. Dark loping clicks drift over a low bed while a dislocated bassline suggests a forgotten rave twenty miles hence. Similarities with labelmate Erstlaub start to appear, and though Jurczyk’s focus is on peaks and troughs of arresting sound, there’s enough queasy drift to melt away the illusion of reality for a few short minutes.
‘Howl’ swiftly builds from drum pulses to the eponymous cry, upping the noise factor gradually and buidling to a dense, dirty shuffle before the familiar screams and blurry blasts of ‘Polymorphia II’ reappear.
The motorcycle grunt of ‘Single Circuit Three Phase Transmission Line’ hauls us back from the precipice, before ‘Trigger To Strike’ subsides from its initial seasick lurch into random staccato drum patterns. Shards of fizzing noise cut across the audio and sporadic hisses of reverb fill the spaces you’d forgotten existed, until, from nowhere, a bruising crescendo provides a climax akin to looped techno preserved in aspic.
In all, the EP is a bristling, confident salvo from an artist utterly at home with his machines, using them to build a soundworld that’s as identifiable as it is bold. In other words, a perfect Broken20 release.