Lakker – ‘Mountain Divide’ (R&S Records)

Blurring the lines between Techno and Noise, it seems as if Irish duo Lakker have found their spiritual home in R&S Records. With a tendency to shroud their music in the midst of a dusky haze, combined with an abrupt progression that catches you unawares as it grows into an all-enveloping cacophony of distortion and feedback, ‘Mountain Divide’ exhibits the strong grasp of sound design that’s played a significant role in Lakker’s ascendency. Reigning the frenzied components in for a stunning breakdown, the opening track is about as subtle as a sledgehammer, growing ever ominously before plunging into a blistering crescendo of squealing feedback and caustic bass.

Dictated by a framework that wouldn’t be out of place on a Visionist release, ‘Mathfall’ sees the duo break into uncharted territory. Alongside the odd smattering of colour – provided by skittering vocal samples and eerie synth work – you get the impression that the brittle hat and snare combinations could fall out of sync without staccato stabs of muscular bass to fasten them into place. Similar to its predecessor, a full-bodied introduction is reduced to its bare bones before bursting into a final, explosive climax, although not to quite the same devastating effect. Almost like the calm before a storm, but in reverse, ‘Monla’ feels a little unnecessary. Gently easing you out of the noise-induced stupor brought on by the two main attractions, it’s a tender conclusion to an EP that’s been anything but.

While on the most part haunting and abrasive, Lakker have a knack for manipulating certain elements found within their music into a rich and vivid soundscape that’s as engrossing and infectious as it is unnerving. It’s tough to find the right balance between melodic effervescence and the foreboding sense of dread their music has the potential to evoke, but this ambitious pair have a potent, but malleable formula locked down.

‘Mountain Divide’ is out now on R&S. Buy it here.

Matt Blair

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