Review: Konvex – Obscure Sorrows EP [DLY001]

The techno x dubstep axis that was mined so lovingly by Osiris eventually gave way to a more abstract and fractured take on bass music filtered through the grey lens of post-industrial wastes and the German techno capital of Berghain. From the Habits and Open Water EPs to Killawatt’s recent full-length album that blends the DNA of techno, electronica and dubstep into something that isn’t any of them, no other label had curated such a singularly unique take on dubstep that wasn’t indebted to DMZ. Konvex and his new label Delay Circuit look to fill the void that was left after Mønic and company went full techno with his ‘Obscure Sorrows’ EP. With five total tracks and a collab with an up and coming producer Subject, the entire EP fits rather nicely into the technoid 140 aesthetic that Osiris had conjured.

‘Conceptualisation’ opens the EP with blasts of rhythmic white noise that is equal parts abrasive and hypnotic, the sounds of the space before creation, the void from which form appeared. Offset sub pulses and tinkling hi-hats add shape and structure to it before it implodes back itself with a whimper. While the opening track is great for a palate cleanser or set closer, ‘Eyes Wide Open’ is strictly a peak time track constituted from that offset dubstep x techno rhythmic pivot. “I can’t fall asleep… they’ll find me” utters a distorted voice, perhaps an EVP recorded off on old phone found in an abandoned house as gun-metal textures scour the paint of the walls and induce amobarbital like effects.

‘Motiveless’ is the most hypnogogic track of the EP as Konvex and newcomer Subject burrow a hole in your skull and extract the gelatin. Konvex supplies thumping technoid bass weight and pit-bull snarls until midway through the 9 minute suite Subject conjures almost doom metal textures a la Khanate’s more abstract latter albums – full of oppressive drones and surrealist splashes of guitar feedback. Between the hallucinatory soundfields and club wrecking functionality ‘Motiveless’ is the crown jewel of the EP.

‘Battery Acid’ builds with masochistic intensity for brief moments when the dancers are too far gone in the void and disassociated from the temporal. 303 squelches burble and refract into fractal spirals of multi-hued hieroglyphic forms that are neither organic nor synthetic. Heaving kicks temper any attempt to return to the Real, submitting consciousness back to limbic pre-linguistically patterns of thought-forms. Lastly, ‘Street Foxes’ much like ‘Eyes Wide Open’ operates in peak time mode with spider-like precision and exactness as dungeon swipes and shark eyed intensity prod the dance into frenzied atrophy where limbs become free of conscious control and people lose themselves to Saint Vitus dance.

Fulfilling Osiris’s technoid dubstep aesthetic, Konvex, Subject and Delay Circuit fill the sarcophagus left by Osiris’s ascension to more Teutonic rhythmic forms and textures. The ‘Obscure Sorrows’ EP gives reprieve to 140 heads tiring of DMZ worship and good-time reggae indebted steppas by bringing the paranoia and disassociating psychological effects that industrial techno elicits on loud systems back to 140 bpm.

DLY001 is out now and available from the Delay Circuit Store.

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