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08 Oct 12
Review: The third Sullen Tone release in as many months from the anonymous Old Apparatus collective is the second to come from an individual member of the group - this time attributed to A. Levitas. Showing an even starker change in tone than the previous EP, Alfur sees the Old Apparatus sound shed the caked on grit to reveal something significantly lighter in tone; the stumbling beats of "Boxcat" seem to experiment with cloudy hip-hop structures, while "Schwee" combines foggy murmurings with firm square waves and starry arpeggios recalling early grime gone shoegaze. "Cauliroot" provides a sparse arrangement of breezy windchimes and hesitant broken-beat, while "Coalapps" takes melodies drifting just out of focus and combines them with lush 2-step beats. Finally, "Lingle" takes pitchshifted vocals and a ghostly atmosphere that isn't a million miles away from the ghostly steppers R&B of Tri Angle artists Holy Other and oOoOO - but in this case the atmosphere is even more pressurised. Another essential EP from the Old Apparatus camp.
23 Jul 12
Review: Having previously befuddled dubstep purists with releases on Mala's Deep Medi Musik, Old Apparatus are now striking out on their own with their freshly minted and aptly titled Sullen Tone imprint. There's rarely much joviality to be found in the murky underbelly of electronic 'composition Old Apparatus inhabit, and this 4 track Derren EP is their strongest artistic statement yet. There are moments on Derren where you can hear discernible links to the UK bass world that Old Apparatus seem have slid out from under. "Dealow" has a tribal-industrial rattle that captures the finest dread-fuelled DMZ workouts, falling around the 140 bpm mark without making it too obvious. What makes this EP so engrossing is the deft crossover between organic and electronic - it's nigh on impossible to tell where the found sound ends and the synthesised tone begins. There's also a staggering dynamism to these tracks; they rarely sit still on the same idea for long before turning down another darkened corner where the walls crawl with forlorn drones and wraith-like percussion hovers in and around you.
19 Nov 12
Played by: Kryptic Minds
Review: Harem is the fourth release for Old Apparatus on their own Sullen Tone imprint, and the third to come from an individual member of the collective. This time it's the turn of Harem, who also lends their name to the release and provides one of the label's most atmospheric releases to date. "Sunday Service" places spectral female vocals in a desolate soundscape, while "Mernom" continues the funereal atmospherics with lumbering beats and acoustic instrumentation placed within a vast echo chamber. "Dourado" offers the most propulsive cut of the EP, with galloping drums and deep subs providing a steampunk take on classic dubstep, leaving "Octafish" to round off another superlative EP with a brooding combination of scorched strings and distant, simmering percussion.
10 Sep 12
Played by: Juno Recommends Leftfield
Review: The second release of Old Apparatus's Sullen Tone imprint sees the first of a trilogy in which a whole record is given over to a different member of the collective. It's still attributed to Old Apparatus, but the difference audible across Realise is stark; although opener "Chicago" still growls and lurches like the alternate reality dubstep of their previous releases, its piano riff and 4/4 beat references the house music of its namesake, while the percussion of "Found" rattles like a steampunk pinball machine. "Holding" meanwhile sounds like a combination of Druqks-era Aphex Twin and King Tubby dub, funnelling tight D&B breakbeats through cavernous brass, and closer "Realise" stacks layer upon layer of atmospheric pressure on its funereal clockwork motions.
14 Mar 11
Review: After a minute long intro dominated by unusual atmospherics, delicate distortions and quirky textured SFX, the scene is set for the bass-driven moodiness of "Side A". Experimentalist Old Apparatus explores the ever-expanding grey area of the post-dubstep landscape, with a deep and truly unique sound which pairs melancholy tones with heavy bassweight pressure and buckets of Burial-esque atmospherics. You'd be forgiven for thinking that the intro of "Side B" is an interlude (which, in a way it is, as the two tracks are rolled into one in the vinyl product), but it swiftly moves into another psychological exploration into the unknown. Deep stuff.
25 Jul 11
Review: The mysterious Old Apparatus' debut release on Mala's Deep Medi was filled with almost exactly the kinds of sounds you would expect from their name; grainy, creaking dubstep that betrayed its modernity with such aged sounds. Their second record, Zebulon, has a similarly antiquated feel to it, but the addition of vocals has given the whole thing a more human feel. "Zebulon" is led by a female vocal that has a folk ballad quality to it, giving the whole thing a uniquely creepy pastoral flavour, whilst the clattering, smoky percussion gives a nice mechanical contrast. "Hammerhand" features MC Mowgli on vocal duties, with his measured aggression working nicely against the track's stretched out string melody. Old Apparatus do not disappoint with this second release; there are few producers currently producing such classic dubstep sounds with such an imaginatively dark palette.