“Clammy” is the first word that comes to mind. Robbie Judkins seems to specialise in sounds that stick to my face and get caught in my hair. I feel smothered and unclean within the tangle of viscous electronics and mouldy tape samples, picking bits of static and drone out of my scalp, inhaling flecks of synthesiser every time I breathe in. Where other musicians carve out space in the stereo field for each sound to move freely, Judkins pushes the noises closer together – moist electronics ooze as they press into the sides of distorted loops, wriggling and squirming in a bid for breathing room. Nothing fits together neatly, and the two 10-minute sides of Beautiful Pigs, Disgusting Humans feel like sweaty cells of deliberate incongruence and agitation. Perspirant slime, protruding elbows, anxious sonic fidgeting.
Judkins notes that these tracks were recorded in the “disgusting month of November”. Perhaps I’m hearing an ensemble of the more bitter and unpleasant facets of the season. The dulled skies of ugly drones, the splutter and crunch of wet feet on wet leaves, the incessant bite of the cold, the jagged outlines of barren flora, the oppressive absence of seasonal celebration. A marimba dances joylessly within a gale of static and low frequencies, driven to twitching distraction by a hideous whirr that slices through the right-hand side of the frame, the melody buckled and broken by the onslaught of surrounding noise. The brilliance of both of these pieces is how quickly they unveil their dead ends, spending vast portions of the running time crushing themselves against walls of no-progress. Dismal.