On September 7 Nasty Wizard Recordings will be releasing a split digital/cassette EP which pairs China based electronic producer Lastboss with German experimental composer EMERGE. The split is part of an ongoing project by Beijing based label Nasty Wizard Recordings to connect musical and visual artists around the world, coupling Lastboss’s sci-fi ambient beats with EMERGE’s immersive industrial drones, packaged with the artwork of British artist Lee Prescott. The EP is available digitally and on a limited run of 100 cassette tapes.
The release is available for streaming on the Nasty Wizard Recordings Bandcamp: https://nastywizardrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/lastboss-emerge
On side A of the release we find U.K. born, China-based producer Lastboss aka. Tate McNeil. As a multi talented producer whose work spans almost every electronic genre thinkable (notably being a big part of Tokyo’s breakcore scene in years past) here we see Lastboss showing off his flair for ambient bliss, murky drones, and sci-fi weirdness, with four cuts that serve as the perfect introduction to the eclectic nature of the Lastboss sound. It opens with ‘Crow’, a recreation of track produced over a decade ago, a dark and brooding atmosphere piece that would sit right at home in the Bladerunner 2049 soundtrack. Next the ironically titled ‘Linguistic Imperialism’ descends to murkier depths, going deep on the dark side of ambience. ‘Hanging Horse’ picks up the pace with a cyber-industrial piece that speaks of future-shocked Asian cities with a beat lurking somewhere under the surface. Finally ‘Journal’ welcomes you into an inner sanctum of soothing church organ that mingles with harps and off kilter drums before the hard edged bass kick in and the beat shuffles around you, rising and rising up and up, nicely bookending this side of the release.
On side B we find prolific German experimental composer EMERGE aka. Sascha Stadlmeier. The EMERGE sound is not one that can be easily pigeonholed as by design the work is not meant to fit into a narrowly defined categories. Instead by drawing inspiration from the traditions of experimental and noise music EMERGE aims to make listeners focus on the sounds, from which atmospheres and soundscapes quite literally emerge, being unique to the perceptions and biases of the individual listener. In this instance we are presented with ‘Re-emanate’, a recycling of a digital download only track that was previously released on the Australian label Misspelled records. Yet this isn’t a simple re-issue, but rather a mutation: sounds were neither added or deleted, instead reworked and to create something totally fresh. In the artist’s own words: “As all these original works are quite old it’s kind of dealing with my past, it’s a kind of going back to roots by treating sounds in a more contemporary way”. The contemporary here is akin to a chilly dungeon of doom groans and low end rumble, through which fragments of beats drift, giving way to ambient drones that draw you closer to the center of something unseen. Over the course of the seventeen minutes and nineteen seconds EMERGE invites you to lie back and let your imagination play with the sounds, and discover what wonderfully twisted places you might end up in.
Finally, on the cover of the release we find the artwork of Lee Prescott, a China-based British artist and a long term collaborator with Lastboss. Influenced by the minimalism of Bauhaus and Russian Revolutionary era art, Lee’s style is typified by simple motifs and sparse but striking use of colour, which is probably why his work has paired with Lastboss’s so well (the Lastboss Bandcamp page is like a permanent exhibition of Lee’s work). The piece used for this release also nicely complement’s the EMERGE track, given the non-linear quality of both, the journey from inception to completion being as much a mystery for the artist as the audience. As Lee explains, “I knew I wanted something geometric. With geometric stuff it all depends on the first shape that I draw. Everything stems from that. I draw the first few shapes and then I think of how I can work within those shapes. I’ll have more of an idea of what I want to do at this point. I’ll then start working into the initial shapes. Once that’s finished, I can draw the rest of the shapes and then work within them.”