While Mick Harris is most likely known to most listeners for his dark industrial dub / ambient explorations under the aliases Scorn and Lull, 2017 saw him reactivating his long dormant techno-oriented alter ego Fret, releasing the ‘Over Depth’ album after a general absence from the scene over the preceding six years.
He’s certainly now making up for lost time, with this latest 12” EP ‘Salford Priors + Versions’ offering just one of two records he’s already managed to drop this year. As its title suggests, it collects together the original album version of ‘Salford Priors’ taken from the aforementioned ‘Over Depth’ longplayer alongside four new remixes of the same track by some of Harris’ longtime collaborators.
In its original album mix form, ‘Salford Priors’ offers up the sonic equivalent of a clenched first as harsh metallic breakbeats and booming sub-bass drops lurch inexorably against a vast echoing backdrop of what sounds like slowed down jazz horns and atonal humming ambience. Even as the fractured rhythms sharpen into crackling points and machine-gun-like rattles before suddenly dying away in a mass of reverb, there’s a sense of the constantly building tension never really being released.
By comparison Monster X’s reworking pares things down to clicking broken techno rhythms and throbbing sub-bass pulses, the beats accelerating up into a fluid groove as harsh industrial percussion bangs away against dark digitally contorted bass growls and ominously looming darkness.
Stormfield meanwhile opts for ferocious darkness with his remix as almost trap-like snare rolls tic against juddering bass kicks and vast reverbed-out sweeps, the treated horn elements given far more space to stretch out as they hang like ominous spectres over a forest of arrhythmic breakbeats, while elsewhere Ad Noiseam’s Fausten reshapes things into abstract post-dubstep terror as ricocheting distorted snares scatter against lurching bass kicks and buzzing powerline-esque dark ambient snarls. Ferocious and uncompromising stuff that doesn’t let up from start to finish.