Divergence -V/A (Hopskotch) review


Hopskotch chooses many prominently outdoor Aussie EDM dance artists for their ability to transcend borders, and is one of Australia’s first labels to explore the terrain of what constitutes psychedelic noise after psytrance has pushed the label as far as 4/4 hegemony can go. Call it glitch, call it bass music, call it what you will. If you leave your conceptions of genre at the door, you’ll understand Divergence a bit better in objective terms.

This is exemplified through artists like Sensient, Tetrameth and Staunch  in their re-habitation of glitch aesthetics, seemingly adapted for their audience to adapt to the lower BPM of bass music. These are brave attempts that evade the common fault of many acts of this ilk that fail to amount any real individuality of sound, i.e. carbon copies of proper class acts like Opiuo or Spoonbill that fail to amount any real individuality of sound.

Spritzer and Random Central retain the integrity of the Zenon (Aussie prog and psy label) bush sound, whilst Pouch Envy shows why artist Staunch is one of Australia’s more formidable glitch-hop artists on the global stage. All tracks retain the psychedelic integrity of Australia’s outdoor scene, without losing any of it through genre change, as some may lead you to believe

Divergence also represents part of a new wave of music in Australia, where the barrier between sound and vision is narrowed, and one can conceive sound as more of an actual physical presence in how it is shaped and crafted.

Tracks like 040411 create a broad cavern of sound where skitterish minimal tech beats interpolate with broken beats clattering over the top of a 4/4 time signature, and single synth hits hint at a mass of emptiness in the background give the song the space it needs. Other tracks like Zerosum are compact packages of implosions. Zerosum descends into a tight heavy robotic minimal drum riff with nothing to spare, with menacing whirs and clicks on top of a throbbing bassline.

There are also other diverse lendings on this compilation, like Audiovoid’s Like You Hold Me, where a electro/breaks balance between melody and harmony, or Town Jester’s straighter hip-hop beats after a similar style of J Dilla. Able8 comes from a parallel fraternity to Hopskotch records with his collective Uncomfortable Beats, which will be covered in another separate part of this investigation of new underground beats.

Other stand-outs include…

Anodyne Industries – It Rained Fire: a melody of warping dark magic that bounces and deflects off the surface of a skittery drumstep beat, or floats as an afterthought in the background.

Dubfonik – E-vulva: an elegant and sleek track that uses more traditional kinds of UK dubstep formula to create a meditation on bass that manages to translate into atmosphere that you would expect at any outdoor gathering in Australia. Definitely one to watch in the future

YLEM – Wasteland: Western Australian YLEM is introduced to Hopskotch fans. Post-apocalyptic dubstep soundtrack that does manage to encapsulate the bareness of the song title, and creates potential mechanical menace into this visual picture.

Dusty Fungus – The Frailty of Flesh and the Hardness of Heart: brings a brave adventure into the more melting side of glitch in Australia, where beats and textures skid and slip between the senses.

Dysphemic – Filth: has a subtler offering then his usual heavy glitch-hop, which uses similar aesthetics to other tracks, but suits the compositional offering of the compilation, utilizing the same sort of use of melody complimenting beats for the dancefloor.

I put up so many moments in this compilation because it simply is such a strong compilation with so many different elements that combine magically to create the whole. More then a year’s worth of work went into this compilation, and it shows. Divergence is a true stand-out work that resonates with Australia’s current and relevant top position on the global stage as so far as electronic music goes, heralding new artistic originality to the dancefloors around the world.

Listen and purchase here: http://hopskotch.bandcamp.com/album/va-divergence-2

Because Hopskotch and Haarp are such nice guys, we’re giving away five free vouchers to download Divergence at their Bandcamp site 😉

Redeem your codes here! Vouchers are good for one download only, so be quick!



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