"For any release, never mind a debut EP, this is fiercely unique music"
Upon hearing this, mental images of brutish industrial techno loaded with gritty samples are conjured. Regina Leather successfully defies these expectations, and whilst there are indeed many instances of scarred and wailing sounds across the release, as a whole ‘Portraits Of A Collective Hallucination‘ veers towards a more subtle and refined sound.
Certainly, this is not to suggest a placid or calm approach: from the get-go we’re treated to the kind of rugged techno which the label’s co-founders are well-known for pushing. The difference is that, like all things Pariah and Blawan, the record side-steps the usual rigamarole.
Whilst this is seen in many places, opening track, ‘Tip‘, highlights this best. Whilst beginning with a DJ-friendly feint in the direction of the industrial soundscapes mentioned above, almost as soon as it starts ‘Tip‘ begins dialling back, until a chime heralds the onset of sweeping, cinematic techno.
This change of pace and tone, in and of itself, is not particularly original. However, Leather’s assimilation of stuttering machinery and melancholic, rhythmic drive manifests itself in an engrossing listen, at once ready for the club but also the headphones.
As the EP progresses, we are treated to more leftfield material. ‘Comunicazione Uno’ and ‘Comunicazione Due’ naturally form two halves of the same story, albeit somewhat mirror images of another, and together form a fierce pairing at the centre of the EP.
‘Uno‘ is granted great energy via the unrelenting hammer of high-pitched instruments, whilst ‘Due’ instead heavily works the percussion and the kick-drum for a kinetic effect, the insistent chirping so dominant in ‘Uno‘ dialled back into a filtered buzz.
Finally, we reach the logical conclusion of ‘Industrial Collapse‘, where Regina Leather’s technical methodology and musical prowess shine perhaps the brightest. Again, what preconception you may hold of the track from the title can be left at the door — Leather reminds us, in a manner we can assume is typical for the producer, that industrial collapse doesn’t have to sound like a rusted freight train.
As such, the EP closes out with a sort of bewildered calm. Grumbling machinations and percussion suites seemingly lifted straight from the dying revolutions of vast cogs and wheels, soft piano keystrokes harmonising with smooth-as-glass pads — all merge, impossibly, into an anarchic yet serene blur.
For any release, never mind a debut EP, this is fiercely unique music; music in possession of some golden ratio between functional club music and conceptual soundscaping. High class, high calibre — two statements ubiquitous across the Voam catalogue.
‘Portraits Of A Collective Hallucination’ is out now. Order a copy from Bandcamp.
2. Comunicazione Uno
3. Comunicazione Due
4. Industrial Collapse