Manchester-based duo Andrew Bowen and Dimitri Poumplidis are best known for their brutalist post-techno explorations as AnD, but this 12” EP on Leyla ‘Fear Of The Imagination’ offers up their first new material under their parallel alias Shadows in four years. If anything, the four new tracks collected here manage to be even more harshly austere and jarring than their output as AnD, with the focus falling firmly upon severe atmospheres and distorted textures. ‘Leaves In The Wind’ opens things with a wash of phased noise trails that buzz and hiss before harsh overdriven tones begin to roar in the background, the occasional sparse kickdrum thudding against a burbling bass synth that fights to be heard amidst the dense layers of howling feedback.
If the aforementioned track soon introduces a sense of mounting claustrophobia amidst the screeching high end frequencies, ‘What If They Are Watching You’ releases some of the tension as a monotonously clattering distorted drum rhythm clatters through toxic layers of fuzz and distant distorted vocals fade in and out focus, as though they were some treacherously fading radio transmission desperately trying to overcome some implacable machine powering away in the foreground. ‘On A Mad Train’ meanwhile generates more of a moody sense of space as slow beats plod against buzzing powerline-esque surges of noise before every remaining bit of air is gradually taken over by walls of feedback and overdriven squeals, before ‘Lights Out’ sees severely treated vocals and laser gun-like zaps floating through a thick gauze of noisy distortion that coats everything like some poisonous fog. If you like your electronics severe and deconstructed, this one’s for you.