UK-based electronic producer Gerry Read first surfaced back in 2010 with his debut ‘Patterns / Last Time’ 12” on Dark Arx, and in the years since he’s released four albums, as well as an extensive backcatalogue of 12”s on labels including Fourth Wave, Delsin and 2nd Drop. This latest 12” EP ‘Preventing Violence Against Ears’ offers up his debut release for Matthew Herbert’s Accidental Jnr sublabel, and in many senses it shares a close kinship with Herbert’s more dancefloor-oriented work, as the four tracks collected here showcase Read’s similarly twisted take on house.
This could easily be the most eccentric and frequently delightfully confusing house-related record I’ve heard this year. ‘Today Or Tomorrow’ sounds like it’s aimed at a dancefloor only half in mind, as an opening crash of distorted cymbals gives way to a clattering, almost motorik rhythmic groove and undulating funky bass runs, while percussive crashes, sped-up vocal samples and all manner of grunts constantly disrupt the mix.
From there, it’s a sidestep into cut-up soft rock samples and dewy acoustic guitar strokes, the vocal harmonies rising into clarity as the wobbly bass and beats re-emerge at the foreground against a wash of soft focus organ tones. If it feels more aimed towards headphone listening than the feet, ‘Baby It’s So Hard’ gets even weirder, as jangling guitar chords get pitchbent-smeared all over the places against reversed ambient tones, the sharp steely house snares that suddenly emerge offering the only anchor of regularity as the background sounds swoon and lurch all over the place, hell, there’s even rapid fire ragga MC samples and what sounds like a codeine-slowed vintage crooner packed in amongst the jagged and treacherous forest of textures.
Elsewhere, ‘Lick It Off The Floor’ sends cold tech-y snares and electro sequences tumbling against thudding percussion and unintelligible MC vocal samples in a manner that calls to mind a more flamboyant cousin to Akufen or The Rip-Off Artist as faded ragtime samples bleed through like a struggling pre-war radio broadcast. On the whole, ‘Preventing Violence Against Ears’ is delightfully bizarre.