Old Apparatus – Derren EP (Sullen Tone)

From what I gather, Old Apparatus is a production team, containing art minded musicians, with a long term audio-visual goal. Their projects have distinct interlocking themes, and seem to work together to advance their artistic interpretation of our society. Through the combination of their music and artwork (all viewable on the their website), Old Apparatus attempts to drag the individual into their vision. They combine historic documents and pictures with futuristic machinist themes to create artefacts of a dystopian robotic reflection of ourselves, a dark and destructive world characterised by war, death and slavery. The great success of these audio-visual projects is the deeply disturbing effect on the observer, the unshakable sensation they have been there before.

With a small body of interesting work already out on Mala’s ‘Deep Medi Musik’ label, as well as an improvised acoustic electronic composition for berlin based ‘The Tapeworm’, Old App have started their own label ‘Sullen Tone’ with the objective of creating a home from which to expand their vision. The ‘Derren’ Ep is the first in a series of four self-releases that will combine music, art and film to fully display their current conception.

The record starts with ‘Zimmer’, a highly charged static realisation of electronic music production. Drones combine seamlessly with synth strings, otherworldly vocals, and steel drums to create an intense feeling of pressure and allure, one that draws the listener out of themselves. The title track ‘Derren’ is to follow, with rising tones and acoustic guitar layers, that flitter around the deep, lo-fi percussion. This tonal dance is joined by mysterious male vocals.

‘Dealow’, is the hardest electronic composition, following a similar vain to ‘Derren’, however with beautiful wasp synths and a deep, brooding bass that constantly fight to break out into raw chaos. These elements are contradicted by angelic female vocals, for me the pick of the release. ‘Bodah’ brings proceedings to an end, once again, rooted tonal synths that sound so pure it is as if they were field recordings of noise pollution from an alien electrical grid. Screaming and droning well into 7 minutes, it has a deeply meditative effect on the listener.

Jamie Neville

The ‘Derren’ EP will be released via Sullen Tone on 16th July.