November 16, 2010
BALAM ACAB - "See Birds" EP (Tri Angle)
The recently birthed Tri Angle label, evil twin sister to the prolific Kompakt label based out of Brooklyn is pretty much pioneering the dark and ghostly dance craze known as the "witch house" movement.
You may also known it as "drag" or "haunted haus", or the more commonly used, and personal favorite the -"ghost bump" tag.Whatever you are calling this outsider genre, it's fucking massive, and all kinds of displaced and/or jaded weirdos are just loving it.Some of other notable acts that fit this plug are Creep, White Ring, oOoOO, Modern Witch, and Sleep Over.
I'm not trying to sell you anything here by any means, but the outline is simple: take your favorite down-tempo/idm/electro act for the last ten years so, mash it together with the latest rare/unearthed cold-wave compilation, drop it down a few octaves, sprinkle a bit of hi-hat hooking atop, and clutter that with spooky voice samples and whirring drones.Now you have a "witch house" masterpiece.I'm not trying to downplay these artists in any way.But, it is what it is, ans that is that.
Balam Acab is by far my favorite of the bunch, and "See Birds" takes us deeper into their dreamy black abyss, like some kind of pleasantly ignorable soundtrack, for a hell ride through the fire on a giant purple cloud made of gentle whispers and sharp skeletal remains.They've got this very pure and organic vibe that runs through their black veins, and ultimately sets them apart from the herd.Deep synthesizer tones swell up and slowly glaze over the layers of swirling, mysterious voice samples..
Classic 808 beats rule the pool in their world, dense low thumps and tattered claps make up most of the percussive end, with slow-paced, early hip hop production trickery to make things solid.Elements of dub, electro, soul, and micro-house are tossed into the pot and just enough neo-goth cold shouldering is poured over top, and seeps down deep into their core.Sparse, haunting voice samples rise up from the ash and dance around throughout the songs, most of them slowed down to nearly a dead hault, and doused with reverb and delays.Pure black magic.
Another attribute that sets them apart from their contemporaries, is their love for soaring, joyful melodies.Most of these acts rely on cold, gloomy dissonance, where as Balam Acab have a knack for a laying down a perfect mix of brooding creep-outs, and bright, uplifting melodies.Some of their delicate synth arpeggios are so vibrant and colorful, they send chills right up your spine, and leave you wanting much, much more.A great little ep from an act that is sure to wow us with a proper full length sooner or later.Keep your eyes peeled.Meanwhile, check out the other releases Tri Angle has to offer.Killer stuff.