Review: COH – TO BEAT

COH - TO BEATI enter the airlock of TO BEAT: an isolated zone away from the logic and consequence of a linear life, where rebellion and transformation materialise in time and then dissipate into the files of forgotten memory. The opening track tracks the compression of a constant sine tone into sharp punctuations of beat – dynamic curvature compacts into sheer right-angles. For the following 45 minutes, the eternal, fluid unwind of being is chopped up into square and unambiguous blocks of rhythm; life pixelates momentarily, and the endless string of insatiable curiosity becomes a finite ribbon of understanding I can hold in my hands. Once it’s over I shall never speak of it again, taking the airlock out the other side via “BEAT TO WAVE”.

The album’s interior is a strange emulation of dance music. The melodies are tangible and thick – riding 4/4 like an unforgettable congregative chant (it feels somewhat Eastern at points, although I feel ignorant thinking that) – yet the beat emphasis falls in eerie places, causing my body to jut out in a series of unnatural angles. It’s an inhuman sound but far from clinical, and while the combination of hum and pulse evoke a sort of chorus of stable spacecraft monitoring equipment, none of these tracks are sheened with mathematical precision; there are bubbles of warm mid-frequency and the sliding voices of alien worship, placing TO BEAT in an error void between abstract calculation and the music of corporeal organisms.

There are moments that fling themselves into the lust of nightclub strobes: the sterile pump of blood around a dancefloor, puppeteered by rhythms that speak to the instinct to move. For instance, “ungear moi” sends the drip of neon sweat into half-time as rave synthesisers flit between subterranean corners like lasers, or perhaps surveillance cameras. And then there’s “Moonviewhigh”, whose mixture of major-key colour and geometric certainty depicts it as a Rubik’s cube rotating in front of my face – a flicker of squares in digital contrast, punctuated by a sloping reverb that mockingly emulates the spaces that exist beyond TO BEAT’s four titanium walls. It’s a simulated reality, and to step inside is to subvert gravity and co-ordination for just a short while.