Label: VENT Records
Release Date: 22/06/2015
Rightly or wrongly, I have always viewed Vent - a label based between Istanbul and Stockholm, as a rather functional affair. Their most recent contribution, Stephanie Sykes’ ‘Black Simulation’ EP however, is inviting me to reconsider. The release undoubtedly has its roots in dancefloor genres, yet also displays a more than cursory interest in noise, drone and ambient textures. Crawling title piece ‘Black Simulation’ is perhaps the most overt example; a shimmering static hum remains omnipresent through the track’s distorted croaks and crystalline low-end. There is something glacial about the soundscape presented here, the occassional haunting, synthetic whistle hinting at life in an otherwise uninhabited space.
Following this, the morose ‘Creep’ skitters to a fro amidst a tranquilised low-end, whilst ‘Hyper’ on the one hand utilises thundering breakbeat percussion and on the other droning atmospherics. The contrast is jarring to say the least - whilst snare drums smack into place with bone-shattering force, warbling UFO soundscapes glide with dull serenity in the backdrop.
Closing the EP Russian producer Dasha Rush turns in a chugging, gritten recast of the original. Rush has garnered significant attention as of late for the nebulous avante-garde electronica that comprised her Raster Noton debut, Sleepsteps, yet here she deploys spartan tactics. Twitching hats and hack-saw basslines march forward solemnly alongside Sykes’ familiarly detached atmospherics - one of the only remaining hallmarks of the original.
As her debut solo EP, ‘Black Simulation’ is a bold move in its variation in textures. Sykes has managed to present a release which incorporates drone, squelching acid, techno and power-drill breakbeat without compromising on her sound - her adaptability shows all the hallmarks of longevity. Needless to say this spells good things for the future.