Sote – Wake Up EP (RecordLabel Records)


It is reported that while cutting this record, the vinyl engineer broke 2 cutting heads on his lathe, claiming it was due to the excessive square waves. This should be enough of a warning. Sote attacks the mix with an all out assault of overdrive and distortion, working the sounds to make it feel like the tracks are trying to escape the speakers and tear your face off.

“Wakeup’ tears straight from the gate with washes of distortion and pumping kicks, giving way to feral bass slides and blasts of synth sweeps. Wakeup indeed. This is more of a workout in the pressure of sound than anything else, as each sound is carefully crafted to fit amongst its rivals, as they all blast from the speakers in all out assault. A lethal bassline creeps in from a light refrain (i use the term “refrain’ lightly, as clearly it’s not an option here), fighting for space amongst slamming beats and grinding distortion. Suddenly a clean beat drops in from nowhere, and the track breaks to gameboy sounding half-time. It’s almost like going to the bathroom at a club; a brief moment of respite for the senses. Suddenly the door from the bathroom has been thrown open to find the bassline has flipped to 16th notes, literally slamming air out of the speakers. The original melody finds its way back to the fore just in time as all sound cuts mercifully at once.

Over on side 2, “Trip’ begins with much less distortion, yet with the same pulsing energy as the previous sides. Sparse moments of synth pads glisten and twinkle. A simple pumping bass casually pops up, curtained with flicks of square wave distortion, which by now the ears are well accustomed to. Different synths slide to and fro, but through it all the piece remains very uncluttered. “Aroma Therapy’ continues in much the same vein, as a skittering jungle break ticks along like a child’s train set on pills. Chillout is the prevailing theme on this side, albeit chillout at around 155bpm with overdrive. A simple, squelching bass noodles around the beat as synths flitter about like electric dragonflies. Just as both other tracks do, it cuts quickly without warning.

I paused the record halfway through side one and spun it gently by hand to observe the effects of the grooves on the needle, only to see the stylus jumping back and forth like the needle on a polygraph. If all Iranian hardcore sounds like this, consider me a fan. Certainly not for the faint-hearted.

Nick Giles


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