Bristol’s Punch Drunk label is notorious for shedding light on new talent emanating from the Bristol area; so much so that Peverelist, the owner, has created a couple of other labels (Livity Sound/Unearthed) to release music that doesn’t strictly adhere to that objective. Over its lifespan the label has, literally, carved out reputations for producers like Guido, RSD, Kahn, Gemmy, Andy Mac and Superisk, focusing its gaze on upfront dancefloor fodder – albeit tracks that are a bit hypercolour, or of fractured, left leaning persuasions. The 20th release though came from Ekoplekz, a Bristol based musician whose music shared little in common with the artists who came before him. That 12”, ‘Stalag Zero’ b/w ‘Distended Dub,’ is essentially two sides of groove based noise that get infected with dub elements thanks to Plekz’s pithy use of delay.
For me it was something of a signal and a change in the tide – something I’d been actively looking for myself. Even having been aware of Peverelist’s diverse music taste for a while, after discussing a few bits and pieces over the counter at the recently retired Rooted Records shop that used to reside on the foot of Gloucester Road before the arches, it still came as something of a jolt. A welcome wakeup call that coincided with the osmosis like perforation of a gluttony of overtly smooth tracks with pretty mixdowns that, while technically brilliant, seemed to lack any kind of decisive or innovative punch.
Ekoplekz’s work is a contrast; stark, jagged and a little bit overly-fucked up. Entirely processed manually, it’s an analogue jettison from the body of one Nick Edwards, a person you might know better as the author of the blog Gutterbreakz. Since that first outing on Punch Drunk, he’s released an album called Memowrekz on Mordant Music and selected live recordings made at the Dalston Jazz Bar and at the Dubloaded night. As we’ve written before, noisy freakouts are not as removed from the edges of dubstep’s convention as you might think, with artists like Shackleton and The Bug making exceptional use of out of drones and found sounds; but with Ekoplekz it’s different. Forget the fact that it’s being put out by Punch Drunk; there’s no Vex’d type muscle, no Cloaks like interpretation of noise as dubstep or even a tangible drum beat. It’s all dark, radiophonic type experiments that come packaged with a machine hum and that static hiss of authenticity.
Darker than Raymond Scott and more ominous than the work of Delia Derbyshire, Ekoplekz’s latest album project, Intrusive Incidentalz Vol. 1 is the recording of his two part process of atmospheric composition. It’s corrosive; constantly falling (in and) out of tune, aurally melting through loops, delay pedals and reverb cycles. Described by the label as ‘violently unstable’ the album, that was released yesterday, further demonstrates Bristol’s experimental underclass. Much like Roly Porter’s recent Aftertime album on Subtext, Intrusive Incidentalz stands on hind legs like a dragon; a daunting beast that’s poised to scare and impress you in equal measure.
James Balf caught up with Edwards to discover a lot more about a producer the internet knows little about…