"Holy Error" is sonic eschatology. The final track off of Sote's Sacred Horror in Design, Iranian composer Ata Ebtekar's latest full-length for Opal Tapes, brutalizes sound—both acoustic and synthesized—into something apocalyptic. Configured as a means of deciphering Ebtekar's "childhood following the 1979 Iranian revolution," "Holy Error" unloads rounds of sub-bass and discharges decaying arpeggiations. A martial thump introduces the piece before screeching setar and shrieking santour begin to bristle. Before long, the song curdles: distinguishable instrumentation dissolves as the tear gas hits and sound is weaponized, reconfigured and deployed as a mechanized toxicity. The collapsing logic of crisis reticulates, territorializing a state of emergency. Anxiety perforates the scene as electronic source engineered at EMS Stockholm becomes quantized, spectralized, hostile. Rubbery solidity ricochets and extends a network of noise, its erratic flows and spikes mapping a brutal topography across its viscid surface. As the apparatus continues to atomize sound into discrete zones of trauma, another aspect of the array emerges. It might be an alarm, but it could be a scream, too. In this postlapsarian moment of collapse, the ambiguity of the noise blurs the sonic signifiers of state-sanctioned violence (siren) with the visceral, human response to the trauma induced therein (scream)—cultivating a vital humanity from within the submission of imperial control. On "Holy Error," Ebtekar disrobes the acceleratory futurism of neoliberal rhythm while amplifying the voice that wails out in protest. Beyond this onslaught, "Holy Error" projects a glimmer of salvation, refracting into an insurrectionary revelation.
Following his pattern of annual August releases over the last two years, Brooklyn's Patricia recently announced a forthcoming LP on Opal Tapes and released two of its tracks. The most recent, "Bed of Nails," takes the shape of a deep house purgatory pulled between the anxious dribblings of its lead synth and the calming effect of the spacious chords floating above it. In the established (now meme-generating) Opal Tapes MO, the track sits in the space between the dancefloor and headphones-experimentalism. The LP, entitled Bem Inventory, is named after a psychological study aimed at pinpointing the advantages of falling in the androgynous part of the gender spectrum between conventionally masculine and feminine traits. This concept could function as an apt metaphor for the middle ground that is so characteristic Patricia's music: it's fixated on the driving effect of a steady four-to-floor rhythm, but equally fascinated by the more radical otherwordly textures, lo-fi grit, and antisocial moods embedded in techno's DNA.
Bem Inventory is coming out August 30 on Opal Tapes.
Xosar, the Berlin-based Electribe enthusiast, is bound to have an exciting 2015 based on her recent Soundcloud activity. She is set to release an EP on Rotterdam’s Pinkman Records in April, and Opal Tapes has bestowed upon us "Watching Waiting Wanting," via their vinyl offshoot Black Opal. In the track, bells and cymbals combine with other percussive grooves: all layering atop one another, evolving into equal parts jack-your-body and dark, bubbling acid. As with most Xosar productions, there are otherworldly elements present in the melody, elevating earthly four-to-the-floor into outer space. A future contender for secret weapon of an early morning DJ.
Let Go is out mid-March on Black Opal.