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White Noise: LHF – EP3: Cities of Technology

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

LHF – EP3: Cities of Technology

Label: Keysound

London’s Lion Heart Foundation have attracted quite a bit of intrigue since their first EP; 2010’s Enter In Silence. Hailed as prominent examples of an Electronic sound  that belongs uniquely to London (finding their rightful place on Blackdown’s excellent Keysound label), the collective followed it up last January with EP2: The Line Path. Many have claimed LHF make music that seems a natural continuation of DMZ’s Dubstep sound before it was so crudely distorted into an over-the-top electronic mulch, but to label these tracks as Dubstep and leave it there would be doing these talented producers a disservice; ignoring Amen Ra’s brilliantly strange sounds or Low Density Matter’s spacious, jazz-inflected rhythms. Here on Cities of Technology they build up to a hotly-anticipated debut LP, and the group sounds not only as fantastic and curious as ever, but also more cohesive as a group than before.

Any fans of LHF’s previous output shouldn’t need to be told that each of these tracks is fantastically produced. Rich, dense textures are applied with a keen sense of timing, while the unique sounds used and constantly innovative percussive patterns ensure these producers can never quite be pigeonholed. As on The Line Path, EP3 begins with two of Double Helix’s finest cuts, with spare sounds and fractured beats creating a heady atmosphere. There’s always been a sense of noir-ish curiosity to his sounds, and these tunes are no different. Matrix-sampling Supreme Architecture is a darkly nuanced number with tumbling percussive rhythms and an extended intro. The sense of mood here is unparalleled, with yowling vocals and shifting details always keeping you on your toes, and a deep low end adding to the fantastic sense of space within the sound. Follow-up LDN references early Dubstep pioneers more heavily but comes out the stronger track; as dubbed-out chords echo off into a darkness with spare clicks and a far-off filtered cry accenting the soundfield. The ability to create  a sound that is so evocatively spare while using such rich sounds and textures has always been one of Double Helix’s strongest points, and both of these tunes do credit to the compliment.

Amen Ra’s Essence Investigation is a typically strange tune that places Eastern melodic touches on a loping bed of fractured Hip Hop beats, and bears repeated listens to appreciate the true depth and attention to detail on offer here. It becomes a little repetitive towards the close, but the fine sounds on display should be enough to tide you over. The highlight of the EP comes unexpectedly from No Fixed Abode on his LHF debut with Indian Street Slang. This track takes the Eastern referencing to a new level; with Indian melodies through vocals and horns running over a skeletal percussive line, topped off by gorgeous returning accents such as the huge declining screech and the loungey jazz keys signalling each drop. On this EP LHF fuse not only genres but also cultures, and to my mind only such a cross-pollination could truly represent the ‘London sound’. This is a superb selection of brave and individual tracks, so give it a listen and join me to wait with bated breath for their debut double-LP, out in April.


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