Roly Porter, “Aftertime”

October 27, 2011
By Steve Dewhurst

Formerly one half of Bristol dubstep duo Vex’d, Roly Porter has stepped out on his own and made one of my albums of the year. Imbued with some of the darkest, most mournful drones you’re likely to here, this exercise in experimental electronica takes the Vex’d template – huge bass rumble, otherworldly samples – and buries it in a dense haze of almost impenetrable fuzz and doom.

Perhaps the most surprising addition to the mix for Vex’d fans will be the strings that soar through tracks like ‘Caladan’ and ‘Hessra’, giving the album a properly composed, industrial-classical feel and providing glimmers of hope in amongst all the gloriously claustrophobic aural carnage. As the opening ‘Atar’ fades to an ominous end you can almost sense that something isn’t quite right before the restless, ever-shifting ‘Tleilax’ even begins. Brief interludes like ‘Kaitain’ hang in the aether and anything from machine gun blasts to icy winds to sudden screeches of ear-punishing pressure add to the often stomach churning low-end raging beneath. The atmosphere throughout is one of dread, hopelessness and black unease much like that found in Andy Stott’s work of late. Ben Frost’s excellent By The Throat is another touchstone, especially on ‘Hessra’ and on the cavernous ‘Rossak’. But Aftertime is an album with such tremendous evocative depth that it stands alone nonetheless. It’s paced in such a way that it stirs up a narrative in the listener’s mind and this means it repays repeat listens supremely, which is not something you can say of electronic albums often enough these days. When it comes to writing up the all-important end-of-year best-of list it’ll be a heck of a task separating Aftertime and Passed Me By, but one I’m massively privileged to be undertaking. I can’t wait…

Subtext

8/10

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One Response to Roly Porter, “Aftertime”

  1. [...] released two of the heaviest electronic records of the year with Roly Porter’s awesome Aftertime and Emptyset’s thunderous Demiurge. Now we can put visuals to Emptyset’s rib-rattling [...]

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