The label name ‘Alien Jams’ has never felt more fitting than for it’s latest release, rkss’ ‘Cutoff’ EP. Making up the fifth in the catalogue on Chloe Frieda’s radio station-come-record label, the 12” takes you on a cosmic voyage, floating past distant planets with a child-like awe at the unknown.
For previous releases, the London-based Robin Buckley has taken a rather conceptual approach. Their ‘Tunnel’ EP experimented with sampling randomly generated YouTube videos, while the Where To Now? released Top Charted abstracted well-worn EDM presets to create an experience like visiting Coachella on a heavy dose of LSD.
In comparison, ‘Cutoff’ sounds like Buckley just having fun. The title track explores Night Slugs reminiscent percussive madness, cranky 4/4 thudding into oblivion. Box room reverbs and squealing modulations give the piece an invasive closeness, cracking snares and blunt kicks bouncing off the walls brazenly.
Other tracks find themselves in a state of delirium. ‘Wave’ sets intoxicating ripples of synthesiser against a bubbling soup of spring reverbs and tape echoes, discordant bleeps occupying the backdrop like a time-machine in a 1970’s sci-fi flick. ‘Load’ on the other hand could easily find its place in a DJ Sotofett or Madteo mix, idle-minded basslines powering through windy layers of background ambience.
Having been a follower of Buckley’s work since their early releases, it is satisfying to see where their journey has taken them. As mentioned, the last few releases have seen Buckley move in a perhaps more conceptual direction, so in many ways ‘Cutoff’ feels like a return to his early ‘Basement’ and ‘Submerged’ EPs, but with refined purpose and sensibilities.