Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Judge Bitch On The Gridiron

Quite often I think of the 80s inspired synth scene as a multiverse unto itself. Countless dimensions of musical experiences that have branched off from our own current realities; existing only in the imagination of the producers through which we're allowed to see aural echoes, manifested as their musical creations. The inspirations and reimaginings are vast and varied and greatly insightful in communicating between the composer and the listener. Sometimes the link is direct and obvious, other times it can be obtuse and yet other times still it can be twisted, shattered and reverse engineered into a broken reflection of what has come before.

In Judge Bitch's synthscapes we experience this warped impression of music inspired by the past but existing in its own exotic dimension which crosses over into all manner of aesthetics. Circuit bent melodies and the intensity of industrially machined sounds merge with choked, haltering arrangements and are then laced with glorious 80s passions creating something all together quite different from the lion's share of producers in the scene. Much like his previous release, Viper (reviewed on Synthetix.FM here) we get to partake in both dreams and nightmares of Judge Bitch's orchestration and the journey is as rockin as it is intense

First down is 'Anaconda' and instantly we're presented with a raw, pulsating atmosphere that trudges into bleak new worlds with determination and grit. Leads synths carve out a lurching melody that feels it is already in the grip an anaconda's constrictions and as the coils flex tighter and tighter the melody begins to lose its consciousness entirely; ascending eventually into a noble release as the heart beat slows and life drains away entirely.

As in his previous works, the darker elements are often the driving forces in Judge Bitch's compostions, however this is kept in check in most cases to allow for spectacular interplay between light and dark elements. The second track, 'Twelve', is a futuristic synth anthem that is coarse and abrasive in it's presentation while keeping soaring, uplifting melodies riding high over these aural atrocities. The tonal quality of this piece gives it a raw, metallic edge that cuts like a blunt, rusty saw, yet still can not mar or corrupt the majestic guitar and synth magic.

Taking great inspiration from the highly underrated Demolition Man movie from the early 90s 'MDK' chugs to life with pummelling intensity and drops like a tonne of twisted metal. Orchestral stabs add even more ferocity to the pneumatically crushing synth melody that rocks rhythmically beneath the scythe-like guitar sweeps. Unrelenting in its intent and completely unstoppable this track is forged in Hell and cast like a megaton shadow.

The ambience continues down the road to oblivion in the opening stages of 'Hot Plates' until the musicality of the structures are separated and dissected into their own elements of dischordant energy. Much of Judge Bitch's sounds work as pure soundtrack pieces, and it must be said that 'Hot Plates' really distills the evolutionary narrative into something quite monstrous as each assembled substructure is absorbed and repurposed into a formidable behemoth of sound.

The segue that occurs betwixt 'Hot Plates' and 'Tropicool' provides some truly exceptional continuity as the ideas gain a more traditional aspect. Warm 80s glows beging to pour from the blackened surrounds, building with light into a glittering prize of faceted pink and cyan jewels. Judge Bitch gets awfully close to an Italo based melody and in this context it becomes even more triumphantly empowering as the story's chapters unfold.

Following 'Tropicool' comes the Synthetix.FM favourite 'Chimera' featuring Pertubator and his short shorts of distinction. The duo work their magic via the inspirational isometric adventure game's samples with ardently direct homage to video game music composer deity Rob Hubbard. 'Chimera' rocks super hard and continues to be one of my favourite collaborative tracks of recent times.

I find Judge Bitch's direct inspirations from vintage culture hugely entertaining and his track'Vice' takes his sample work into all new realms of radness. 1982's Vice Squad provides an almost complete vocal track to the off-screen brutality the synths intimate with wanton aggression. Seething with an undercurrent of rage, the melodies hypnotize and then obliterate with great power and an attitude of belligerent bloody mindedness. A brutal spectacle one simply can not look away from.

Gridiron finishes on one of the strongest experiences on the album entitled 'Wildcard'. Channelling distant echoes of Mr Vector's classic 'Electric Vice' this track moves into visionary new territory as atom melting synths become a fanciful delights of 80s brilliance. The elements come together into a chaotically beautiful work of delicate subtlety and raw goddamned power. A live electricity runs through this piece and gives it such vibrant life and wondrous colours.

Aphasia Records presents Judge Bitch's Gridiron album on their Bandcamp page here and as a complete record this vividly brings to life and all new incarnation of the Judge Bitch sound. The development of ideas is more diverse and complete and each track is a standalone monolith while still remaining deeply rooted in the universe in which Judge Bitch rules with an iron fist. The tone and presence of this album is intense and engrossing to experience and Synthetix.FM regards this work as very, very highly recommended listening.

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