Juno Plus credited Avian as one of 2012's stand out labels and its final release of the year, now available digitally came from mysterious outfit Shxcxchcxsh. It's the third EP from unpronounceable producer(s) and it opens with the equally unpronounceable "RJRJRFFRJRJ", a thundershower of acid loops, squelchy atmospherics and sub bass. A surging bass line replaces the need for drums in "MMMXXQQQWWW" resulting in a sparse and drunken groove. "ZZNNZNZNNZN" is another dancefloor cut replete with what sounds like field recorded clunks and Mills inspired blips while "NNNCCCCRRHH" is upfront techno tailored for the concrete hungry.
SHXCXCHCXSH don't make things easy. Not only does the Swedish duo have a tongue-twisting disregard for vowels that renders each track name unpronounceable, they also seem to care little for convention and form. While the former is an inconvenience, the latter is rewarding and it means that while their debut album STRGTHS is a demanding listen, it is also a deeply satisfying experience. Each track on the album is an experience where the listener does not know what is going to happen from one bar to the next. That's not to say that STRGTHS doesn't have its share of dance floor techno tracks, "LTTLWLF" and "PCTSTSS" stand out in this respect. However, the really memorable tracks are the ones realised out on the fringes where rules are discarded, such as album opener "LDWGWTT" which moves from grinding riffs into an eerie soundscape before embracing searing acid, as beats run in and out of time in the background. STRGTHS is uneasy listening music of the highest order.
Now firmly established as a label with their own aesthetic and sonic identity, there'd be a sense of expectation attached to a full album from anyone in the Avian camp. That it's the fairly unpronounceable Swedish techno pair SHXCXCHCXSH who've been handed the mantle of first full artist album on Avian only increases that expectation, thanks mostly to the mystery that surrounds them. Label bosses Shifted and Ventress have elected to accompany its release with this STRGTHS RCNSTRCTNS EP which features remixes from themselves along with the similarly minded Sigha. Given the approach of all involved, you should have an idea of what expect and indeed, Sigha sinks deepest into the sludgely noirish mire with his take on "LLDTMPS".
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