ever since I have learned about existence of hymen label, I was expecting gridlock to appear among its releases; after all, the style of gridlock has always been the closest to the line-up of hymen. finally there is this 12" with two new tracks ("de/module" and "clicker") as well as four remixes - by spark, funckarma, proem and bu-seki.
both new tracks are slightly different from each other, and for me they represent the sound of earlier gridlock moving further, combining heavy idm and noisier rhythms with gentle melodies, as well as assimilated drum&bass drive of (almost) abandoned dryft merged with idm.
"de/module" is a track that reminded me of earlier funckarma ("parts" or some of the "solid state") - similar approach to blending multiple layers of heavy percussion with calm, gentle melody. it is not after dramatic contrast of melodic textures and beats, but rather blending them together, carefully placing melody amongst heavy rhythms. I was glad to hear familiar gridlock's "suspended percussion" - when it rises slowly and drops with compressed, heavy punch; same spontaneity and irregularity that I have always treasured, same heaviness but with immersed in additional sound layers. any gridlock fan would recognize a multitude of familiar whirrs and distorted, crunchy noises used in a transformed, more complex, idm-like fashion.
"clicker" is a track that I could perhaps label as a mix between early dryft and gridlock - beautiful simple melody augmented by constant pulse of subtle drum & bass lines and familiar backdrops of broken gridlock rhythms. it starts out slowly, but gains speed and breaks out into this manic, high-speed drum & bass overlaid with spastic idm noises, adding so much more to the initial combination. i was not expecting this heaviness, this drive and especially the polished complexity that could remind you of early beefcake or first gimmik vinyl, only heavier, with unmistakably gridlock feel.
spark remix was a bit too straightforward, considering what I have expected, but a fairly nice rendition of "fix" - placing emphasis on vibrating analog lines and strings, pushing through the steady rhythmic percussion workout, presenting quite an interesting perspective on the track.
funckarma's mix of "estrella" is stellar, as expected - spontaneous irregularity, with explosions of percussion and stuttering rhythmic textures among swelling graceful lines; distant small keys and massive fast-paced breaks, suspended in mid-motion. I think this is where it is interesting to compare and contrast the sound of funckarma and gridlock, both at some point arriving to the same style, both from different directions, and then departing with quieter new funckarma releases ("part 5" and "elaztiq") and increasingly complex and driving sound of gridlock.
proem's mix has similar caustic feel that you might have noticed on "negativ", fragile and brittle dark melodies start "364" and gradually deconstruct into slowly flowing track that sparkles with torn resonating frequencies and unexpected turns; a few moments I expected it to turn into one or another familiar proem track, but it carried on with brittle, broken sounds constantly morphing and changing. in the end it seems to be much more of an audiophile's treat with its refined complexity.
finally, bu-seki delivers yet another mix of "estrella", quiet and uneventful, soothing, but a bit too even for my taste, although it does make a perfect closure for this album with its slowly alternating ambient lines.
overall, I am excited to see new direction of gridlock, because, frankly, after hearing "trace" I was wondering where they would take their sound from there. I am so pleased to hear this new material that is unlike anything out there in terms of production, drive, complexity and melody. I am looking forward to the new full-length, and I am certain that it would get the recognition from both idm and noise/industrial community, and (as it has become a tradition) will make it to my top 10 for the year.