Senking: Pong (CD + Windows/Mac Game, Raster-Noton, September 2010)

Fantastically good. Jens Massel has pulled in elements from a range of styles: off the top of my head, I’d include bleep, dub techno, glitch, dark ambient, breakcore, and sublow — or at least, I think so… I am terrible at genres. What’s certain is that he’s made them work together to form a coherent whole, and created a sound very much his own. As you’d expect from a Raster-Noton artist, the production is excellent, crisp and spacious. The tracks cover a variety of styles, from moodily atmospheric to snarlingly propulsive. I am on record as a fan of a good buzzing, and there are some earth-shakingly awesome examples on display here: the stand-out tracks for me are the growling Painbug In My Eye, which pairs a sonar ping with a superb over-driven squelch, and especially Breathing Trouble, in which a skittering beat of ticks and pops is almost eaten by the huge wobbling bass sound, punctuated by a haunting echoey vocal sample (“great day, isn’t it?”). Please play this on a decent stereo: your ears will thank you, even if your blood pressure does not.

This comes with a second disc containing a Windows/Mac game called almostPong. It is a 3D version of the classic racket game, music and sound effects taken from the album. It’s a nice idea, and it looks and sounds great. Unfortunately, I am terrible at games, and found playing it a rather frustrating experience. Ah, well.

I bought this from Juno. They call if leftfield, whatever that means.

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