I haven’t been able to find out much about shadowy new electronic producer Aldrich, apart from that this new 12” EP ‘Ravaged Minds’ on UK label Super Hexagon represents his / her debut release. Whoever Aldrich’s true identity proves to be, the five tracks here manage to provide an extremely impressive intro that traverses a wide range of stylistic terrain, all of it distinctly dark.
‘The Laws Of Exchange’ opens this collection in deeply cinematic ambient territory, as Shelley Duval’s spoken voice (apparently sampled from a documentary about her experiences making ‘The Shining’) gets digitally stretched into a languid crawl against the sort of vast swelling synths you’d associate with SURVIVE or Tangerine Dream, the vaporous synth-vocal harmonies that trail at the very edges counterbalancing the yawning ominous void at the track’s centre.
‘Dead2Me’ changes gears entirely, venturing instead straight out into skeletal post-dubstep / grime as cavernous sub-bass swells suck all of the oxygen out of the mix while eerie melodic notes float to the surface against flickering, stripped-back snares, the repeated minor-key synth riffs in the background heightening the sense of claustrophobia.
If anything, ‘Telecom Shift’ releases some of the built up tension as clicking electro-meets-footwork drum machines spiral against a ghostly violin loop and swelling industrial sub-bass that verges on infra-sound at points, the flexing rhythms lurching into full flight towards the track’s end as layered turntable scribbles bubble into the foreground.
Elsewhere, ‘You Have To Talk’ lets in some light whilst venturing out into deep dub as wasp-like organ tones dart against rippling cut-up vocal samples, scattering percussion fills that carry a stray hint of Meat Beat Manifesto and delicately trailing keys. As darkly cinematic industrial bass music goes, ‘Ravaged Minds’ is a pretty impressive opening statement.