With every passing year, the work of Joe Higgins seems to get steadily more abstracted. Most will know him by his Metrist moniker, a project focused on half-broken, dusty industrial techno. This time however, the abstraction has reached a kind of breaking point, and we have hence seen the birth of L.sae, a more experimental, scatterbrained and boundary pushing project altogether.
The first line of William Gibson’s Cyberpunk Sci-Fi novel ‘Neuromancer’ reads,“[t]he sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel.” The American Philosopher Rick Roderick describes this as “the best first sentence in 20th century American literature” for it’s depiction of what he calls “the postmodern trajectory” towards alienation, indifference and pseudo-experience. These themes may also be found in this EP, which itself feels lifeless in comparison to his previous work. The textures are like that of a TV that has had its picture saturation slowly deadened from its original technicolour, and every sonic element feels slightly unhinged from the others. ‘The West as it Will Be’, for example, offers warped spectrogram harmonics and dulled chimes, not as lively, flamboyant flourishes, but as barren, hollowed-out excesses. ’Line Sunk Like I’m Sunk’, too, feels purposeless and incomplete; we are left only with fragments of what sounds like a mangled cassette tape.
The whole EP is also never quite comfortable sitting in one place at one time. At points, metallic hats are slashing their way through the mix in a groovy shuffle. At others, there is bouncy interplay of sub and percussive clunks. Sometimes there is nothing but the granulated hiss of static. Each block of ideas has the potential for their own unique formation, but instead, Higgins lays them out in a tattered tapestry of sounds for us to enjoy, and it works magnificently well.