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Review: Dry Socket's Violator EP and Ray Creature's Don't Stop Talking EP
Posted July 02, 2014 by Taylor Peters
WRITTEN BY
Taylor Peters
ON
July 02, 2014

 

I said I’d be back and so now I’m back. The next two releases on Terre Haute’s NO! Record Label have arrived. They are good. I will now write about them.

 

Dry Socket is (was?) Michael Anderson of Drekka and Dylan Ettinger. The Violator EP was recorded back as a demo back in 2011 and has been totally re-worked for this release (so, no, this is not a clear indication that Ettinger is back in the game). The whole thing sounds like some crumbling building. It’s industrial music, but it’s particulate and it’s falling apart.

 

 

Side A, or “Decision // Blue Dress,” opens up melodic, but far away. The drum machine swings crackling across a distance, almost like it’s coming through packing peanuts. And the build up begins. A looping keyboard riff, drones, sirens, and then, finally, the vocal melody. The whole piece goes up and up but not as much forward. No choruses or verses, one drum rhythm, a simple melody that layers and folds in on itself, making that final crack! and come down all the more dramatic.

 

“Decision // Blue Dress” empties out in its second half, no more drum machine, no more vocal melody, no more nothing but metallic clangs and thumps. The party’s over, everyone went home, and you’re left alone with this wobbling noise coming off the Dry Socket tape to spend some serious time thinking about how frightening an open window is and can be in the pitch dark.

 

The second half of the Violator EP, a.k.a., “Accelerator // New Dress,” goes deep on the hints dropped toward the end of Side A, building up the beatless buzzing noise to a wailing tower taller than anything song-like you thought you heard early on. Or, maybe think about it this way: the party’s back on and everybody’s crowding back in, but they’re coming through that open window in the dark and they’re not your friends after all. There's only a few copies left of the Violator EP tape, so grab it right here while you still can.

 

If Dry Socket sounds like they're rifling their way toward you, Ray Creature's Don't Stop Talking EP is already as up-in-your-face as it can get. Hints of echo and reverb here and there, but overall it’s just clean, feeling free of intermediary sonic sediment (having said "No!" to the lo-fi). And that’s for the best, because, on repeat listens, what I really want to hear are the way every little composed line sinews in and out of every other, how pieces and layers lock and drift, and, above all, as if it could be any other way, those voices.

 

 

Ray Creature play dark, synth-driven new wave, or synth pop, or dark wave, or whatever. If it feels at first like very good “yes I’ve heard this before” music then two things have not yet hit. First is the smart, tight composition. Both Dry Socket and Ray Creature are playing with a type of maximalism. They push up against the borders of the cassette tape, filling it up until it almost wants to hunch into distortion. But, where Dry Socket bent in frequencies with almost abandon, Ray Creature are careful, selective as they thunder on into blackness, nevertheless.

 

And then there’s the voices. Vocalists Jon Erich Booth and Natascha Buehnerkemper have this near perfect push-pull unison between one another in tone and in delivery. And they’re built cleanly into that airtight compositional structure, layering at their peaks into a fascinating contrapuntal complexity. The EP’s second song, “Success” is perhaps the strongest representation of this, at least in part because it’s the song on which they welcome the additional backing vocals of Amy Luxenburger.

 

The Don't Stop Talking tape is right here. Ray Creature also have a full-length self-titled LP out right now via Sister Cylinder which you can get right here, and you can check out a few tracks from the full-length below via the MFT player.

 

 

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