Meat Beat Manifesto :: Kasm02 EP (Skam)

Upon arriving at their destination, all exited the car without speaking—except for one who said in halting, broken English, “Music… Very weird. Dark. Good.” Which sums up Kasm02 better than I ever could. A must have EP!

Meat Beat Manifesto :: Kasm02 EP (Skam)

I feel I must open this review with a disclaimer: I am a ridiculously unapologetic Meat Beat Manifesto/Jack Dangers fanboy. Ever since I heard “GOD O.D.” back in 1988 in the tiny little record store I worked at in Connecticut I have worshipped obediently at the temple of MBM. I can safely say the only album I didn’t appeal to is At The Center with its jazz deviations but then Jack quickly rebounded with Autoimmune and Answers Come In Dreams, both of which rocked my world and fueled many late night drives across murky landscapes.

I can only imagine the heads at Skam soiled themselves knowing they were releasing an EP by the legendary MBM. I sure as hell would. Kasm02 (get it? An anagram of Skam?) is an exciting foray into new territory for Sir Dangers. Its songs are firmly four on the floor dance style with deep, deep roots in what makes MBM so great: strong rhythms, dub-style production techniques, actively weird electronics and buckets of atmospherics. It’s faster by far than the previous albums’ deep explorations into the dark side of true dubstep (I played them for my daughter, a Skrillex fan, and they scared her which made my day). There’s an incredible care in the production and sound of each song while at the same time an overall ethereal feel permeates them.

“Agelast’s” solid kick drum thud and bleeping arpeggios could be any techno song but within five seconds an errant bleep escapes and you know whose house you are in. The drums are incredibly simple while the rest of the track develops into an intricate soundscape. The bass is heavy and the atmosphere is thick with cottony soft pads reminiscent of “Prime Audio Soup” era MBM while foraying into newer styles. The track plops along nicely in a semi-ambient style before ending with some modulated shortwave voices from another dimension.

“Lurker” opens with a hint of menace in reverb drenched bell tones as a solid looped beat gets your head nodding. A burbling, 303-esque phrase hides under these bells with an occasional squelching bleep popping through the surface murk. The simple bassline along with the drums powers this track so firmly you could almost listen to just that for the track’s duration. But then, swirling choral pads take us elsewhere. The track builds into a methodical, driving accompaniment to an unmade road movie starring the Gimp and Yuri Gagarin.

“Nocebo” kicks into it straight away with a bopping bass sequence and hammering drums. The atmospherics are a little more in the background though still firmly a part of the picture. Vocoded samples provide a melody to the track with shimmering female vocals popping through the filtered veil. This is an absolute banger of a track which will make you drive too fast in your car and dance to hard anywhere else. You have been warned.

“Present for Sally” boings and pings its way into your ears with a squelchy bassline over simple drums. The mysterious sounds and shapes in the background reverb form a weird alliance with the doom laden vocoded voice as if you’re being lead into a dark dimension of sound. The song chugs along with unknown intent. The voice chants something indistinct as electronic noises invade the space like your phone dying as it receives alien messages. It’s another sonic ride to a dark land you may not return from.

True story: I drive now and then for a popular ride sharing service. The other night I picked up four foreign exchange students as this EP was playing. After saying hello I began to drive. They soon grew silent and said nothing for the rest of the ride, listening to the music intently. I wondered if they were thinking this was that weird late night ride you hear about in urban legends where the riders are never heard from again or if they were going to a strange nightclub. Upon arriving at their destination, all exited the car without speaking—except for one who said in halting, broken English, “Music… Very weird. Dark. Good.” Which sums up Kasm02 better than I ever could. A must have EP!

Kasm02 is available on Skam.

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