Damscray – Los Animales EP (Humanworkshop)
Well, it’s been in the pipeline for a while and a few days ago it emerged into the light of day, a brand spanking new release from Damscray, that Russian purveyor of experimentally. dark/intriguing Trip Hop. Or soundscapes. Or something.
It’s rapidly becoming an unnoted tradition in my musical household, this being the fourth Damscray project that I’ve reviewed and with each new release a certain trepidation sets in as curiosity mounts as to what’ll actually emerge from the, presumably quite spooky, laboratories of Albert Khasanov. How far will the experimental edge go? How dark will it get? Will any of it make for a simple, unthinking listen or will past habits continue with the creation of another demanding collection? Well, in the case of Los Animales the answers to the above are fairly unsurprising given the apparent trend and evolution of what Damscray’s doing. It’s most definitely dark, or perhaps that should be unnerving, with the heavy, brooding beats seen in his work on Everything Is OK giving way to a more maniacal form of discomfort inducing eclecticism. This EP is more of a crazed scientist sending his abominations out into the wastes to hunt you down than a man with an iron bar lurking around an industrial estate, which is no bad thing.
The obligatory heavier beats are mixed throughout with a sharper, intentionally ethereal sound hovering just above them which is the greatest bolster to that feeling of slightly surreal, Alice in Wonderland like nervousness, in fact the whole thing emerges when listened through as a sort of musical Grimm’s fairy tale unto itself, all that’s lacking is some woods to walk through and something in the shadows to be terrified by.
All of which is pretty jam packed with praise of a sort and I do reckon that most of it is deserved but nothing in life, barring Guiness, is perfect and there are minor failings here, which in part are just inherent faults but are also made more obvious for their incongruity with the rest of the EP. There is a audio narrative here and it’s abundantly obvious when that flow is disturbed by a misplaced interlude, of which there are a couple. That’s almost made worse by the fact that these momentary lapses aren’t integral to the tracks containing them but they do emerge as poorly placed distractions from them. But I’ve no wish to be undeservedly harsh over such trifles because this EP really does emerge as a far better piece than any such trivial hole picking on my part may suggest.
And the only other even vaguely negative comment I could make about this EP is that it lacks a single stand out track, which is understandable given that for any one track to have seperated itself too violently from the whole stylistically would have been to unbalance the story telling feel of the album but if I were recommending Damscray to a new listener I’d still have to point to Horseboy before Los Animales for the fact that it’ll offer more to immediately grab onto.
Minor grievances there though, this remains a very good EP and whether you’re an ardent Damscray fan or just coming across it now I’d recommend a download. So jump to it…