Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Semtext


Listening to the mix of dubstep low-end and mid-range isolationalist murk of Mount Kimbie’s “Maybes” sent me back to listen to its nearest junglist equivalent, Third Eye Foundation’s “Semtex” for the first time in years.

Matt Elliott’s Third Eye Foundation emerged from a nineties Bristol scene of lo-fi four-track post-shoegaze bands like Movietone, Crescent and most famously Flying Saucer Attack. Think dense clouds of guitar fog covering mumbled vocals. Like the contemporaneous Bristol trip-hop units, these groups made blunted torpor work for them as an aesthetic strategy. The first two albums by Third Eye Foundation were in this vein, if more hostile (sample seventeen-minute track title: “Way Out Like David Bowman”).

Then in 1996 on Domino Records short lived electronica sub-label Series 500 Elliott dropped “Semtex”, a ten minute sprawl of mezzuin calls, and the usual thick smear of noise but this time pierced by breakneck, hyperactive jungle drum clatter. Writing on drum & bass and on noise has often deployed oceanic and back-to-the-womb metaphors, but “Semtex” is like swimming in a dense slime filled with metal shards.

Here’s the shorter (by five minutes) but harder hitting version:

Third Eye Foundation – Semtex (Version) [ysi]

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