A dizzying trip through noisy industrial club and experimental rave.
Vol.2: Punch Drunk explores both the mental and physical sensations of being punch-drunk as its nine contributors journey across industrial club, high-definition body music, extraterrestrial noise and brutal techno. The volatile tracks keep listeners in a perpetual state of uncertainty, likely mirroring sentiments of pandemic-related dread and anxiety. Similarly, the overall mood is heavy, dark and intense.
Alexmalism, ASJ and Kelvin T, members of Hong Kong's Absurd TRAX collective, team up on "Power Fisting," where classical strings give way into an acrid soundscape of menacing drums, mashed-up synths, horrorcore-style vocals and distorted effects. "Madness Of Two," by Shanghai-based producer Laughing Ears, is one of the album's more sinister cuts, transitioning from a doom-and-gloom introduction of creepy synths to a layered arrangement of whirring noises and alarm sirens, before suddenly slowing down for intervals of tribal chants.
Throughout the album, these unpredictable arrangements keep us guessing. Still, there are lucid moments. Russian producer WULFFLUW XCIV, who is affiliated with Ugandan label Hakuna Kulala, balances throbbing bass, a frenetic cascade of noise and shadowy vocals with a foundation of steady drums that makes his track, "Eternal Tape", somewhat easier to follow than others. Similarly, Lil M and Luxixi's "Make U Feel" is clearly made for dance floors, yet still manages to startle. As one of the album's most club-friendly tracks, it starts off with crescendo of beats that appear to be a harbinger for warped techno, but before you know it, we're thrust headfirst into breaks and '90s-style vocal sampling.
With its aggressive pace, experimental production and maximalist attitude, Vol.2: Punch Drunk is a tumultuous ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Packed with gristly sounds and punk textures, it stretches the frontiers of industrial techno while showcasing some of electronic music's most bold producers. As much of an active listening experience as the soundtrack for a squat rave, this nine-track compilation goes hard. Just don't be surprised if you need to lie down afterwards.
Thu / 20 May 2021
01. Ytem & Chams - Fulgurance
02. Lil M & Luxixi - Make U Feel
03. Laughing Ears - Madness Of Two
04. 高桥(iHigh pro max) - Allergic 过敏
05. WULFFLUW XCIV - Eternal Tape
06. Alexmalism & Kelvin T & ASJ - Power Fisting
07. Cvalda - The Roller
08. Natcase - Aw
09. Daniel Ness - Past Life Reclaimed