Quoit - Properties
Drum and bass bores me. Much like house music, it takes a good idea and drives it so hard into the ground that, after five minutes, I'd rather be bludgeoned by a gang of English school children wielding cricket bats than waste any more of my hearing on the repetitive thump and clank of d 'n' b. Yet I'm hear to flog what is, ostensibly, a drum and bass album. Why? Because Mick Harris understands two things: rhythm and atmosphere. You get these two things right and a lot can be forgiven.
A quick history lesson: Mick Harris, one-time power drummer for that machinery of metal mayhem, Napalm Death, lost interest in traditional song structure, ditched his old school drum kit for a rack of electronic equipment and dove off the deep end with Scorn. Threatening to rupture the fabric of time and space on more than one occasion with the low end power of Scorn, Harris has also been exploring the glacial atmospherics of the landscape of nightmares with the dark ambient project, Lull, culminating in the sixty-minute single track Continue. Somewhere in there, he diagramed an overlap and called that space 'Quoit.' Properties, his second album under the Quoit moniker (the first came out on his own Possible Label), takes the more frenetic rhythms of Scorn and sends them scampering across heavy atmospheres straight off a Lull record.
Properties begins with "Going After," an instant 0-to-60 start that hammers you like a speed mugging. "Cells" swarms with drifting bell tones and warped, back-masked drones, dark ambient background for the chattering, chopping drum work that seethes over the top. The center of the record is dominated by "Close Season," a nine-minute exploration of the spastic heartbeats of the monsters which live under the bed. Harris sets the tone with crawling miasmas, drifting atmospheres cut and slashed by a glittering cymbal rhythm, the bass pumping like the accelerating heartbeat of a cornered teenager. The first third of the song is a gradual wind-up, a tightening noose as the atmospheres are split again and again by the beats, the rhythms coming faster and faster until everything explodes. If Dario Argento had been allowed to direct Monsters, Inc., this slithering, glittering, frenzied music would be Randall's theme song.
Mick Harris works alone in a studio that he calls The Box, yet his music consistently explodes that same structure. With his Quoit project and Properties, he detonates the stagnating landscape of drum and bass with squirming and snarling rhythms.
- Q -
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Publications I've Written For
- Eraldo Bernocchi
- Fields of the Nephilim
- Peter Gabriel
- Chris Randall
- This Morn' Omina