earthly delights archive



Soleilmoon Recordings SOL 103 CD (2000)
Track listing

A full CD of Nigel Ayers demonstrating "what happens next in drum and bass". Or not as the case may be. I couldn't quite get the hang of the Transgenic single, until I ignored the distracting claim repeated above. The same is true here, and this is actually an extremely convincing disc once one's expectations are checked in at the door. Firstly, the packaging is great. The disc comes in a card cover sealed in a hazardous materials specimen bag. The usual sleeve notes come in the form of instructions, dosage recommendations, details for obtaining repeat prescriptions etcetera. Any significant traces of rock'n'roll drug-ism, or art-irony, have been flushed away with the used bandages and expired medication. There's no suggestion of this being chemical as in spacey and tripped_out. It seems more like some horrendously toxic product that has either been withdrawn from legal usage, or is used only as a last resort to treat the few conditions worse than its side effects.

I love it - it's that same deadpan, or I suppose in this case, bedpan humour exhibited in the declaration "contents may vary from those listed" on the cover of NE's Drowning In A Sea Of Bliss. Although there are a few drum and bass flourishes, the odd techno moment, none of this is done by conventional means. If drum and bass is Manet, Transgenic are Picasso. Most of these tracks use rhythm as a foundation, but not as a rhythmic foundation, if you see what I mean. The beats seem to be there in order to focus the listener's attention, which, once fully engaged, will inevitably notice that although the drum programmes may be along for the ride, there's no-one driving.

Like many of Nigel's greats, this seems to have evolved under its own volition, unstructured by conscious human intervention. What with the grinding non-sequiteurs of bass noise, the squeals and virtual clanks, all reproduced in high resolution sound, Transgenic is a fitting sequel to Spanner Thru Ma Beatbox. It's the sound of techno after the extinction of the human race, the machines keep churning out the beats and the bass, evolving into degraded forms with an incomprehensible agenda that is quite unrelated to keeping people in cycling shorts bouncing into the early hours of Sunday morning. Funny how Godflesh have turned out to be Elton John all along. I think this is a cracker, but then how could I possibly resist an album which features tracks called Oligonucleotide, Chromosome Sequence, and World Bank Schistosoma?

War Arrow
Sound Projector 8

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