Gurgling up from the broiling mulch, Cru Servers make solid 12th Isle’s imprint whilst taking us further into the uneasy and unfamiliar. Whereas the label’s initial release might have been intercepted signals from the saudade of deep space, Cru Servers come freshly dredged from the primordial stew, bouncing burbling swamp echoes off craggy cave walls as they groan into being.
Neo-chugs swaddled in wonky reverb and bizarro synth squalls; A low tempo lurch grounding guttural hums and twinkling, reflective, long-sticky keys; Suspiria kosmiche leaking melancholy; All attitude, a drone twists over fractured bassline rhythms – barely not grime; see also the lo-fi drudge with decaying acid swabs.
The record seems to borrow from the Fourth World and experimental tapes (i.e. Galen Herod, Escupemetralla), fusing them into echoes of punk funk which are held underwater and dubbed out. It has an exploratory feel, like the duo are finding out what their equipment can do as they record. A solid collection of tracks which are broad in scope (indeed in terms of audio field and genre touchstones), and manages to balance messy, freeform experimentation with charged, commanding rhythms. The slapbass strut of ‘Granite of Blobs Ghost’ swallowed by the warped, maudlin wails of ‘Whale Vomit Windfall’. ‘Shot to Life’s’ glissando Casio cadences, humming like a Gregorian chant below decayed electronic swipes and a stamping kick. The billowing bass fog in ‘Deithe to Hansy’ which conceals footwork energy at a 100-bpm crawl.
12th Isle are inextricably part of the exciting wave of musicians and labels to burst from the sequestered community of talent housed in Glasgow, making the city a particularly distinctive and alluring capital in the world of dance music in recent years. It is with a fresh irreverence their releases toe a gossamer line, teetering on the brink of avant garde whilst confidently practising a skilled knowledge of the parameters of dance music. Future releases are pegged to come from Best Available Technology and Palta & Ti (from the Regelbau fam), with a 12″ of Soviet synthesiser experiments from Vladamir Karpov AKA XYR currently in production.
Blubber Totem is out now on 12th Isle – buy the vinyl here.