Chloe Frieda’s Alien Jams began life on the airwaves. Her NTS show of the same name explores a wide assembly of everything from space-gazing electronica to ’80s industrial/electro homages. Despite expanding the project with the launch of the Alien Jams label, Frieda has stayed similarly free-spirited in her releases, taking in everything from Marreck’s whirlpooling sci-fi to the Radiophonic squelchings of oMMM. The latest in the catalogue is a split 12” from Opal Tapes affiliate Karen Gwyer and fellow NTS-er Beatrice Dillon.
Aside from her radio work, online presence doesn’t seem to be too much of a concern for the London-based Dillon. This said, it hasn’t stopped her from becoming a relatively widely talked about individual. She has also managed to avoid categorisation remarkably well; she has worked with classical composer Rupert Clervaux, yet has similarly navigated avante-techno circles with ease, releasing on esteemed label-of-the-moment Where To Now? late last year. A number of weeks ago I witnessed her expand her stylistic reach even further, playing an array of tripped-out dub and reggae at London’s Corsica Studios.
Dub is almost the strongest hallmark of her contribution to the split. Entitled ‘Curl’, the a-side offering forces plodding bleeps and ruptured synthetics through a series of ultra-tight reverbs and delays. The effect calls to mind some of the more rugged escapades of Italian Planet Mu signee Herva; shuddering, sub-heavy kicks holding tight-formation beneath Dillon’s snowballing metallic hook.
Gwyer’s offering, ‘Common Soundproofing Myths’, releases the pressure somewhat. There is something almost familiar of ’70s Krautrock psychedelia in Gwyer’s meandering synth lines, building to a squelching acid cacophony in the track’s latter half. The melodic components grate mercilessly against uniformly overdriven, cut-stop rhythms as detuned synthesisers divebomb between a barrage of snares, which seem to disintegrate on impact.
Having reached the Alien Jams project the wrong way round, discovering the label before sampling Frieda’s generous array of radio shows, my perception of the project is probably somewhat skewed. Having said this, whichever way you approach it, it’s clear to see that both enterprises are being managed with a consistent level of quality and creativity, which can only be commended as Alien Jams continues to grow.