CLANG. Echo. The nightclub is empty. The speaker cables have frayed. There is no continuous dance beat throb, muffled by bodies and moisture, sending the walls into a nauseated heave. Instead, there are chunks of sound freefalling in the dark. They crash against the floor like chandeliers, echoing violently into empty space. There are synth harmonies set free from their anthemic choruses. They hover through the air, discoloured like plant stems wrenched away from their roots, eerie and solemn in their solitude. There are the splutters of wiring coming loose. Noise caking the trachea of signal. The euphoria of those nightclub experiences is all gone. All that’s left is corruption and glitch, occasionally interrupted by the almighty smash of a fallen strobe light.
The destruction of physical material sounds authentic, and there’s a reason for that. In the recording sessions for the album, the duo recorded sound waves through bulletproof glass, all while subjecting the surface to wrecking balls, bullets, hammers, spades and stones. That’s why I feel physically jolted by these fragments of electronic rhythm. It’s a disturbing feeling. Just as the glass shows signs of fracturing, the division between the digital and the corporeal starts to give way; even the most primal of physical actions send repercussions rippling through oceans of interconnected transistors, and modulations in digital living can be felt with unsettling intimacy. On “I Throne”, guest vocalist Elvin Brandhi (Yeah You) sounds as though she’s attacking her computer screen, yelping breathlessly and thumping the glass with her fists; spurts of violence, shards of electronic frequency. And thus, this scene of a derelict, crumbling nightclub starts to feel like the dystopia that came to devour the age of technological opportunity, with strobe-lit hedonism giving way to corrupted impulses and digital damage. An unruly chunk of splintering, fracturing forewarning.