Review: ex.sses – RELIC

CHERCHE ENCORE.

Everything that stretches outward is bent inward and vice versa. The beats on RELIC point aesthetically to the club yet kinetically to nowhere, evading motion altogether as the syncopations multiply to form a flat expanse of cancelled-out emphasis. Whispers are pushed so deep inside the ears as to suggest a voice uttered from within, blurring the notions of body and internality, boundary and privacy. The edges fray with vinyl crackles, rattlesnake hi-hat shivers, digitally scrunched noise, while the centre gapes with a blackness alluded to within Lottie Hughes’ accompanying short story:

The object’s smooth surface is interrupted by a dark circle, impenetrable by any shouts of light. She looks into it, the circle quivers and envelops her gaze.

While only 19 minutes long, the EP is a lattice of paradoxes that, if unravelled, would doubtless take the duration to an hour or more. Rhythms thump neither forward nor back. Echoes scope out the dimensions of gigantic uninhabited spaces, while the intense proximity of the voices cause it to suddenly contract and cling to the skin. On opener “climax”, she utters what sounds like “leave me with nothing but excess” (as with many of the spoke lines on RELIC, the words are fractured by smashed-mirror glitches), a line that resonates potently with a music stripped of linear structure to leave just its most visceral, body-throttling potential. Even as tracks like “M.A.D.” teem with swooping breaths and semi-automatic cymbals, adorning the rhythm like chainmail, ex.sses retains the notion of a dense emptiness at the very heart of these constructions. A black hole-energy that holds it all together, and might just rip it all apart.