Release: WORD EP
Release date: 18th January 2019
In January, Swedish leftfield favourite SHXCXCHCXSH’s latest EP, WORD, was released on Mord. Their first releases have been on Shifted‘s label Avian and, more recently, on their own label Rösten. So it came as a bit of a surprise to see a release coming out on Mord, otherwise known for hard techno. But rest assured – if you are a fan of SHXCXCHCXSH, this release is more of the same, old stuff rather than a Mord’ified version of the act.
The Word EP follows a straight line from the previous OUFOUFOF album and the earlier Dekmantel podcast, which means SHXCXCHCXSH are still exploring rhythms. The EP’s title, WORD, gives some hints on what to expect. The track names are all varieties of this, hinting that the tracks may be variations of something based on the same underlying structure. If you like puzzles, I leave it to you to crack the code.
WORD offers a steady, insistant kick as the layers of hiss, chirps and hums flow in and out on top. In between, other percussive elements supplements the kick and creates a polyrhythmical structure that supplements the basic beat. Like the track name indicates, this is possibly the most accessible part of the EP.
DROW sets off with a slightly stumbling beat and generates a nice flow before the claps and hi-hat hits and creates a much more complex structure. At that point the listener will have to re-listen and reset the perception on how this track actually works. From there on, the track is pure bliss, with bubbling, quirky sounds, cymbals running at their own pace, continuously challenging the basic beat.
OWDR is a more insistent than the previous tracks. From the very beginning, it offers a both hypnotic and complex beat, and also a very basic bass line (don’t expect a melody). Using the same formula as in WORD, the hi-hat comes in a while later and forces the listener to reset and rethink. While all of SHXCXCHCXSH’s music is textured and filled with hissy, grinding sounds, this track is the one that takes this the farthest.
The final track, ROWD, is based around a steady beat similar to that of WORD, however slightly offset. This goes for much of SHXCXCHCXSH’s music – you may think you’ve heard something before, but if you listen closely, there are subtle differences and very little real repetition. On top of the kick, the grinder runs steadily, and echoed space-bleeps come and go. This is the most toned-down track on the EP, and it offers the listener a gentle landing after an otherwise challenging (however rewarding), rhythmical journey.
Consistent to SHXCXCHCXSH’s modus operandi, this EP does not offer your typical floor fillers. It should, however, be included into a DJ set for someone not scared to go outside of their comfort zone.
Listen to SHXCXCHCXSH’s WORD EP here: