Ewa Justka: Upside Down Smile (LP, Editions Mego, April 2020)

Ewa Justke says that this was made “by self-designed, self-made, selfselfself, odd looking slightly dysfunctional synthesisers and by a trance purple killer Roland JP8080”. I believe her. I guess you might call it kind of experimental hardcore acid techno. It is mastered by the great Russell Haswell. The opening track, Mindless Cycles, is an awesomely banging bit of hardcore until near the end the kickdrum drops out and it all slows down and wheels off into swirls of howling synths. It’s a wonderful moment, and neatly sets us up for the rest of the album, where the big thumping kickdrum frequently seems at war with the analogue screeching. There’s a definite air-raid siren vibe to this. You know, in a good way. There’s Scarlatti’s Saw, which is 44 seconds long and reminds me of the kind of chiptune baroque that DJ Scotch Egg used to do, only rougher around the edges. There’s the mighty mighty Something Alive But Unevolvable which is a menacing growling buzzing monster of an arpeggio, the kind other arpeggios use to scare their children. There’s We Tend To Underestimate The Forces That Distort Our Imagination, a big fat slab of dirty acid techno at about 175 bpm which makes me want to go listen to that Universal Indicator megamix. And so on. It’s a masterpiece of barely-contained chaos. And does it spark joy? Hell, yes, it sparks joy.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Techno / House, Electronic.

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