There are many images that spring to mind whilst listening to Senking: Vast seascapes stretch into the distance. Epic alien submariner robot structures heave around the sea bed belching globules of bass at each other in battle for sub 100hz supremacy. Concentric circles ripple across the sand, pulsing outwards with each mechanical foot stomp. The whole scene vibrates as low frequency shudders rattle every molecule. Shards of light occasionally punctuate the surface, synaesthetic bursts of colour oscillating through the crystal clear water….you get the picture.
Senking producer Jens Massel has perfected his own distinct brand of claustrophobic, dubby, bassy neck cracking filth. 2010’s ‘Pong’ was a master class of this style with stand out tracks ‘Breathing Trouble’ and ‘Death by Drowning’ eliciting a hairs on end response as nervy as the titles suggest. ‘Capsize Recovery‘ and numerous EPs have seen Massel draw this theme further, sprinkling edgy melody across subaqueous explorations. He also delivers a ferociously deep improvised live show.
If you’ve enjoyed previous Senking releases then “Closing Ice” will not disappoint. All the hallmark sounds are here, peppered with drum breaks, techy work outs and even a nod to low slung metal guitar head bang. To be fair, at his best, this Raster Noton artist will certainly encourage repeated vigorous head movement. ‘Grolar‘ and ‘Winter Brevet‘ test this theory, pumping with curled lip fervour whilst ‘Lighthouse Hustle‘ rocks out big time – perhaps in honour of Massel’s experience playing bass in punk and indie bands in the ’90s. ‘Serpent‘ and ‘Swarming‘ positively bristle with rugged attitude, flourishing abstract colour with richly textured pads against a backdrop of precise, controlled LFO abuse.
Many of these tracks twist for brief instants into conventional structures with melodies poking their heads above water into a more recognisable world before plunging back down below – check the mid section of ‘Miller’s Meadow‘ and the organ / synth dance of ‘Scouts And Spies‘. It feels like it’s this technique that has enabled Massel to retain interest and relevancy with his sound – it would be easy to fall into bassy cliché with such an audio palette but each new senking release maintains as much satisfying originality as the last.
Closing Ice is out now, head over to Raster Noton to pick up a copy.
1. Scouts And Spies
5. Winter Brevet
6. Lighthouse Hustle
8. Hitchhiker Perspective
9. Miller’s Meadow