It’s as though the record player needle has developed a serrated edge, crawling laboriously through the grooves and cutting untidily into the vinyl surface. Despite being the product of remote collaboration, Grapes And Snakes carries an ugly, visceral intimacy that evokes the illusion of a physical and real-time contact – sounds scrape their dry underbellies across the floors of low frequency and across eachother, fighting through an intense friction in order to come groaning and buzzing into being. The decision to stick solely to analogue synthesisers and tape manipulation feels like a crucial one; the listener is left immersed by the weight and warmth of sound in a lively and unpredictable form, smothered by vibration that renders the air black and opaque.
Take the central section of “Burning Nest”, which takes a loop of stuttering low tones – loosely arranged into a two-note melody – and higher notes that descend like the giddy, distorted swoops of low-flying aircraft. There’s something almost nauseating about hearing Dilloway and Lescalleet attempting to squeeze into the same thin frequency band; the resultant motion is slow and constricted, forcing the sound bodies up against eachother to writhe as distinct and awkwardly synchronised organisms. Meanwhile, “Shattered Capsules” takes responsibility for Grapes and Snakes’ peaks of both quiet and violent high volume: the former as sparse combination of bass throbs and shuddering tape interference, the latter as an unexpected climax of chattering data overload, cutting through the record’s murky low-key with an aggressive blast of clinical high frequency.