The new Beatrice Dillon / Karen Gwyer split is a study in the ways a track can be pulled apart and reconstructed, a split release that does that rare thing of presenting two artists sonically distinct but somehow connected through concept.
Released on Alien Jams, it continues the radio-show turned record label’s fixation on the most off-kilter, maverick proponents of electronic music from London and beyond.
"Curl comes across as a collage of the most artificial aspects of a techno record."
Dillon’s side of the 12 inch, ‘Curl‘, comes across as a collage of the most artificial aspects of a techno record, a track dissected into its constituent layers and then the parts bolted together in a sequence instead of being layered back on top of each other. Its groove seems to clunk in and out of phase, the beats, synths and effects locking together at points before disassembling again. Almost frustratingly short at just four minutes, it is remarkable for the amount of ideas crammed into such a short duration, totally sidestepping the repetition, which is so often central to electronic music.
Gwyer’s track, ‘Common Soundproofing Myths‘, takes a more itinerant approach to the same basic principle of deconstructing a traditionally dance floor oriented style. Acidic sirens wail away over scattered hi-hats and pairs of kicks, different synth lines weaving and building over each other while an almost prog sounding organ meanders through its melody. For the first 4 or 5 minutes the rhythm slowly grows in intensity until it stutters into straight four to the bar kicks and bouncing synth bass. As it progresses, the track feels like an exercise in testing different sounds alongside each other, taking one part and replacing it until the perfect combination is reached.
"The Beatrice Dillon / Karen Gwyer split works so well because it provides a yin and a yang, two opposing, equally brilliant interpretations of what electronic music can be."
‘Curl‘ is all about the sharp edges; cold, hard rhythms cross-hatched with others. ‘Common Soundproofing Myths‘ latches onto the warmth – the human side in electronic music – laying smooth, natural sounds atop one another. Dillon’s side is obsessive in its ruthless efficiency and detail, each sound displayed clearly before being discarded. Gwyer’s plays with space, stretching out and filling every corner for its thirteen minutes plus duration.
Split releases can often be unsatisfying, seeming contrived when the artists bare no connection to each other, or pointless when the two sides are too similar. The Beatrice Dillon/Karen Gwyer split works so well because it provides a yin and a yang, two opposing, equally brilliant interpretations of what electronic music can be.
Beatrice Dillon / Karen Gwyer is out now on Alien Jams, order a copy from Bandcamp.
1. Beatrice Dillon – Curl
2. Karen Gwyer – Common Soundproofing Myths