Review: 20.SV – The Great Sonic Wave

The Great Sonic Wave is like a bug stuck in tar; slurping, lurching, heaving limbs upward to a viscous smack that only galvanises immobility further, gathering matter until distinction is subsumed into a syrup of microchip malfunction, broken club music and the horrifying human wretch that signifies sanity and reason ripping right down the middle. For a piece with such firm roots in rhythm and low frequency it is disarmingly unsteady, and where dance music often implants a womb of darkness and firm-footed stasis on a given space, 20.SV does the exact opposite: he hauls the carpet of stability from beneath me, collapses the comfort membrane of horizontal and vertical surfaces, and then permits all manner of electronic shard and storm debris to flood in.

There is something really nasty about the way in which it gathers matter and expands. Fragments of circuit board and freefallen screams clump together – formless to begin with, but gradually thickening into shape – before starting to writhe in a disturbing, wayward synchronicity. It’s like human motion gone wrong – jerking and stalling at all the wrong places, twitching as though the body is fighting back against the gestures imposed upon it, forced into a reluctant stagger that seems less about reaching a destination and more about indulging in an ugly form of human puppeteering. Meanwhile, Dubin’s taps into a horrible confusion of states, fluctuating constantly between chaos and control: is he the disturbed victim dragged unwillingly into demonic possession, or the very evil spirit that rises us to claim body and willpower for itself?