The Atlantic Ocean–spanning TRI ANGLE RECORDS is straight-up one of the most interesting labels you’re going to find. We have them to thank for releases by the likes of THE HAXON CLOAK, HOLY OTHER, and CLAMS CASINO. They do outside-the-box electronic music as good as anyone, and this was proven once again with last fall’s release of VESSEL’s PUNISH, HONEY, an album so gigantic in its lurching rhythms that I could not have resisted putting it on my end-of-the-year list (had I had my shit together and heard this record with enough time to do so).
Vessel‘s Seb Gainsborough has jumped off the deep end since his last and first full-length record, Order of Noise. Techno, dub, and house influences are still there, but this latest one is a more strangely rhythmic record, odd grooves spilling out of it in every direction, body parts coerced into moving along with its sounds in new ways.
The freeness on display and the willingness to experiment, coupled with the producer’s ability to make those experiments sound and feel organic, serves as a magic elixir of sorts. An elixir that allows Gainsborough to concoct all manner of janky, wonky, groove-addled music. Punish, Honey bears the same mystical-seeming bite marks as JAMES HOLDEN or FORM A LOG’s recent work, or perhaps, rather, the marks are indicative of the secret society of electronic krautrock elders. Hard to tell. The same blood is shared among all, however (IMHO).
Industrial influences are and have been part of Vessel’s sound all along as well. The plodding thud of a beat for (my favorite track here) “Red Sex” brings it right home. I am compelled to do “the mad man.” That’s a dance. And the people on the train with me (who are not intoxicated by Vessel’s sounds right now because I’m wearing headphones and NOT sharing) just do not understand. But my eyes are closed and the synth bass is fat as fuck and the weird, wonderful synth lead is causing waves in the environment while calling to me. And in my mind’s eye it is transformed into a cloud of smoke that has taken the form of the hand of some lady of the night. And that lady’s hand is making the “come on” gesture in my direction. I mean, what am I supposed to do here??
A most powerful record. Powerful, and strange, and moving, and just everything else that I love about music or art. Track this down. Would be a dream to bring Vessel over from Bristol some time.