SSLEEPERHOLD – ‘Ruleth’ [Review]

a0104574565_3‘Ruleth’ is the first LP by SSLEEPERHOLD (José Cota, of Medio Mutante), a compendium of beat-driven electronica for what I can only be described as the ‘IT-core’, or music for nerds in-the-know. Not to be disparaging or to over-reduce the audience for this music, there is something of a cultural logic specific to the current state of code, coders, and new aesthetics. Down to the Minecraft cover art, this is sandbox sound aimed at working in matrix. The sound is lossless, gridded and robust. In this world, Ladytron is Siouxsie Sioux and Lil B is Sid Vicious – though Nick Drake is probably still Nick Drake. Across seven tracks, Cota collates the latest state of technology-driven music (and politics), including the everyday glitch of Scanner, the new Industrial of Vatican Shadow, the drum and bass of Terminal Sound System, and vitally to the inverted consumption of programming by rock music, the “post-hardcore” of bands like 65daysofstatic. While the production is sweated over, meticulous and brutally-defined (the title track acts as a sort of abstract for the compositional format in the rest of the disc), the melodic sugar is not neglected: lining even the darkest billow of a track is a hook, rendered in bright synthetic colors and pegged to user-friendly grooves. While “Ashes” and “Beatsslave” enact this sort of chiptune conceit at more grown-up scale, it is the pair of pairs, “Timeghosts” and “Dreamwaves” which allow Cota to develop the function of these compositions through multiple iterations. The music is at its best where Cota applies a controlled warp – not quite screwed, but delicately burnished to a more organic acoustic adaption – and which upgrades ‘Ruleth’ to the latest build of electronic music. LP comes in an edition of 300 copies.

Holodeck LP/CS

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