Review: Hanetration – Tenth Oar EP

Tenth Oar is a dense mesh of sound, and barely any of it feels attributable to conventional instruments or even recognisable objects. A vast majority of the audio here has been crafted, moulded, twisted, disguised – filtered through FX and processing until beats and clicks become groans and scrapes – yet despite removing itself from musical convention in a timbral sense, the structures and tonalities constructed out of these alien building blocks are very musical indeed. In fact, there’s something rather ritualistic about the music’s constant return to cyclical rhythm and monotonous drone anchorage; Hanetration is a tribal incantation for a world far removed from this one, driven by the same instinctive sensibilities, but vastly contrasting in the instrumental palette used in their materialisation.

Each of these four tracks resorts to a different pool of sounds, but “Rex” acts as a good introduction to the aesthetic that defines Tenth Oar. Voices quiver and babble in hyperspeed while percussion and drones begin to rise up on both sides – muffled flutes alternate between erratic flutters and slow, long breaths, while the rattle and impact of metallic object fades in and out, sending the music between a thick mush of freeform and a woozy rhythmic charge. Most impressive during this track (and in fact, throughout much of the EP) is the textural detail splattered across the soundscape; often the music sounds overload and congested, but there’s actually something perversely enjoyable about being caught within such an indigestible swirl of noise.

“Rufus” is much simpler in contrast and doesn’t engross to the same extent – an electronic click and slurp provided a stuttering rhythmic basis for organ drones and a wispy noise haze, with Hanetration choosing to stifle the music’s free-flow in favour of a contemplative stasis. Unfortunately, this reviewer found it to be frustratingly stagnant in amongst tracks that exhibit Hanetration’s charm of restlessness and constant experimentation. The rest of the EP evokes the image of a musician constantly striving beyond the achievable; delighting more in the creative process than the end result, desperate to reshape and even destroy the sounds mere seconds after they materialise.