Review: Sote – Hyper-urban

Ge-stell-04-frontLike a drummer anxiously tapping against desks, bins and walls in the absence of an actual kit, Hyber-urban puts forth the notion that the irresistible force of rhythm will always find a way to manifest – even when starved of conventional resources. Sote finds the electronic equivalent of junkyard material (stray sines, happy coding accidents) and reshapes them into an agent of vital convulsion. Each of these four tracks moves in twitches, smacks and shudders: synthetic whirrs crushed into the ping of pebbles against a mirror (“Zoetic”), or processed into cutlery tumbling down a drainpipe (“Krom Uth”). Despite the irrefutably digital nature of everything, there’s a visceral impact at work – I feel the sharp connection between object and surface exploding in every direction, as my brain tries to reconcile the abstract texture with the sensation that heavy shards of material are ricocheting off the contents of my bathroom and kitchen. With no drum samples to work with, Sote’s handling of rhythm becomes urgent. Violent, even.

Yet despite the aggression with which each individual sound bursts into being, the rhythms are threaded together with a beautiful awareness for the ecology of the collage at large. Syncopations swoop underneath other the downbeats, hitting their heads on dirty whirrs of Morse code drone, while propulsive thumps (not bass drums, mind) send out little staccato projectiles into the high frequencies. The whole thing carries a regenerative energy that never truly has to stop, which only makes the decision to pull the plug at four or five minutes apiece even more dramatic. There’s little melody at work here, and frankly I’m not sure there’d even be room for it.