SC​-​164 & The Pulse Projects :: Double review (Subapical)

Subapical founders Hall and Knüfer are hitting some serious electronic heights and look set to continue their climb to the darker summits of machine music.

Kristopher Hall and Athene Knüfer founded Subapical with an something in mind, to establish “an outlet for music exploring harsher, harder edged music which blurs the lines between electro, industrial and techno and doesn’t sit firmly within one genre.” Founded in 2017 the pair set to work, securing Greg Schappert under his darker moniker SC-164 to begin this exploration into the other side of electronics.

Schappert has captured hearts and minds with his work as Donor, his complex journeys into the world of parred back techno and toys with the preconceptions of ambient abstraction and rhythmic floor workouts. As SC-164, another side of this Brooklyn based artist is on show. Eastern District picks up on where the recently released Clone And Conceal on Shipwrec left off, rusted electro of abandoned factories juxtaposed by clean glassy snares and haunted bars. “Disguise” is instantly recognizable to those family with Donor’s sound. Stark spaces are created in which echo and delay ricochet veiled percussion, trills of bleep piercing the eerie atmospherics on offer. “Lost” skirts a number of styles. An engine ticks over to a stinging clap as industrial snarls gutter and growl against a backdrop of textured tones. “Tracked” is cut from the same ragged cloth. Lonesome percussion stumbles and staggers in a haze of juddering bass and skittering snares “Adjusted Sense” borders between sadist and savior. Drums are angular, shore into sharped pointed and doused in diesel and reverb while crystalline chords attempt to surface.

The follow up release comes from a lesser known moniker of Eindhoven based producer Albert van Abbe. Paling in comparison to his normal prolific output, Abbe’s The Pulse Projects alias has had just a handful of digital releases with Black Catalogue Rituals (2004-2005) being the first to appear on vinyl. On putting a needle to the 12”, it’s hard to figure why this project has lain in the shadows for so long. Mean, biting notes are further serrated in the harsh and mechanical stomper of “Zeta.” However, this dark and sinister style soon turns softer and more malleable with the dipping and bending strings of “Likeit.” Industrial beats remain central as a warmth enters. Those same warmer currents can be heard in “Object (Objectives).” Beats snap against kick drum pumps in this juddering piece of orbiting bleeps and subtle elegance. It’s interesting to hear this side of Abbe, these sounds of frigid fragility from an artist better known for sweeping vistas and broad techno. The finale is a tougher affair. Drums crash against building acid lines, lines that are carved for gouging.

The cogs in the Subacipal machine are oiled and in motion with two 12”s set for release soon, one by “The 15 Dead Minutes, collaboration from the artists behind Heuristic Audio (known for his output on Satamile Records) and Delinquent Dialect.” Interestingly, this search for a “harsher edge” has almost uncovered an understated sophistication. Lurking beneath the grind of punishing beats and piston are echoes electronica and IDM, flourishes of warmth amidst those colder columns cast by SC-164 and The Pulse Projects. Although Subapical might mean “below the apex,” Hall and Knüfer are already hitting some serious electronic heights and look set to continue their climb to the darker summits of machine music.

Eastern District & Black Catalogue Rituals (2004-2005) are available on Subapical.

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