PORTION CONTROL: Pure Form CD Other Sounds / Cherry Red

PORTION CONTROL: Pure Form CD  Other Sounds / Cherry Red

It’s practically criminal that Portion Control often fail to get the recognition they so obviously deserve; responsible for being highly influential with regards to acts such as Skinny Puppy, right through to Nine Inch Nails is hardly a mistake.

Since their 2004 comeback we have been treated to some fantastic releases in their second career; ‘Pure Form’ is surely one of the best releases this duo have also let loose on the scene, period.

‘Blows’ opens the proceedings, with Dean snarling in fine form over swirling, pulsating electronics that seamlessly drift into ‘Deadstar’, a combination of early 80’s vocal sensibilities crossed with old school EBM hypnotic beats and synth patterns that have been given the necessary 2012 tweak with regards to production; gripping stuff.

Thematically speaking, there are elements on ‘Pure Form’ that revert backwards in some respects; there are ever so telling reminders scattered throughout the release that hark back to the era of ‘Raise the Pulse’ and such like, but executed with far more conviction and urgency.  Simply put, Portion Control are far more relevant than they have ever been; you could completely disregard their past and what Whybrew and Pavianni have accomplished in the past eight years alone would demolish the majority of releases coming out of similar circles from new artists out there and this album nearly tops the lot.

For those that ludicrously have not heard of Portion Control, or acknowledge their existence but haven’t heard them for some ridiculous reason, you need to pick this up now; by the time the chants of “victorious” erupt on ‘Katsu’, you will wonder which hole you have been hiding in your whole miserable life.

9.5/10

HIT BY A ROCK: Wounded CD Other Sounds / Cherry Red

HIT BY A ROCK: Wounded CD  Other Sounds / Cherry Red

‘Wounded’ is the debut album by well-respected soundtrack composer, producer and re-mixer Jim Wheeler. Opening up with ‘Black Lilly, White Lotus’, is an intriguing blend of Susheela Raman’s vocal works, woven into tight precise beat structures and lighter shades of dub-step; albeit the production is slightly less invasive and far more appealing than the genre tag just given.

There is something disturbingly commercial about this album rearing its head now and again that normally I would run from; however, there is a fine balance to the tightrope that Wheeler walks on and he reins it in to his own blend of eclecticism and that’s why this release should appeal to a whole host of different listeners.

A clever use of reggae influences filter through a lot of the electronics and blended with subtle attention to harmonies and cut and paste scraping beat-work, none more so than on the drifting ‘Two Face’ which is a prime example of such an approach.

It’s hard to compare HBAR to many artists a lot of readers on here would be aware of, but ‘Surgery’ is somewhat reminiscent of Mothboy’s works with Akira the Don and it’s definitely an area of the album that I appreciated the most, with guttersnipe vocalisations and hook-line rhythm sections that snap out the lyrics with brutal conviction; more of this please.

‘Wounded’ is a solid album through and through and whilst there could be more variation, this rolls from track one to twelve seamlessly and is best consumed as a whole.

8/10