Heat, War, Sweat, Law is British composer Laurie Tompkins’ debut solo recording: a desperate stomp on the bones of Heaven 17’s ‘The Height Of The Fighting’, replete with rabid voices, cracked pots, faltering pipes, spent IKEA bags and egg shakers, and spasmodic ghosts of Martyn Ware synths. Part foaming rant, part exercise routine, HWSL’s incessant shaking, hammering and yelling wear down soloist, tools, and the tolerance of an audience put upon by a dispersed mob seeking to recruit them in their inane howls and claps.
“…Glenn Gregory’s suave croons are a world away from these giddy bagatelles, evoking as they do a hurricane in a Sheffield charity shop…” – Paul Margree, We Need No Swords“…he cries meaningless bloody murder in nine tracks that resemble surreal playground games as much as they do compositions…” – Tristan Bath, The Quietus“…the receding hairline of an overwhelmed sound guy paying off the interest on his mic set case while pulling out hair…” – Tiny Mix Tapes
Mixed and mastered by Owen Roberts. Video for “Sweat” by Joel Wycherley.
Laurie Tompkins - Heat, War, Sweat, Law
Lawrence Lek’s Unreal Estate is a speculative simulation in which London’s Royal Academy of Arts has been sold off as a luxury playboy mansion to an anonymous Chinese billionaire. First shown at the RA itself in 2015, and available to play online as part of Lek’s ‘Bonus Levels’ series, this dystopian and poignantly funny piece was the winner of the ICA Tenderflix award and the Dazed x Converse Emerging Artist Award.
Unreal Estate’s eerie landscape is underpinned by a soundtrack from cellist and composer Oliver Coates. Coates’ cello chorales are both tender and stark; glossy Reichian quavers, elephantine bass lines and cultivated waltzes reverberate within the gallery’s imaginary walls. Interspersed amongst Coates’ themes are selections from Unreal Estate’s narrator, whose advice to potential investors comes from a found text from Russian Tatler, translated into Mandarin by Joni Zhu.
The result is a music concrete mixture of snatched vocal samples, effluent drones and tear-heavy harmonics.
“…one of the most immersive ambient albums you are likely to hear this year…” – Bleep
“…the music is as grand and boldly delineated as any computer game soundtrack, making it a perfect fit for Lek’s virtual world…” – Nathan Thomas, Fluid Radio
Mastered by Rupert Clervaux.
Lawrence Lek & Oliver Coates - Unreal Estate OST
Debut release of material from both Tom Rose and Caroline Haines (Chaines). Both composers working within electronic and contemporary composition, the pair’s music form a dialogue testament to sharing the same stage countless times over the past year. Chaines’ two offerings are evidence of an idiosyncratic vision embracing dislocated drums, swathes of distortion, and freakish manipulations of her own voice. There is a nagging sense of some submerged narrative – in Transverberation, the “bells and smells” of religious ceremony are evoked, while Speak Gentle Words is something like catching glimpses of distant shorelines. Tom Rose navigates the alternating interzones with three cuts that dismantle the base of Chaines’ music, as dry synthetic drums coalesce into toppling patterns and waves of synthesiser become caked in debris.The final track includes contributions from ‘cellist Tom Bayman, whose string sounds become stretched in an extended rumination upon Chaines’ unexpected violin solo.
Music by Caroline Haines / Tom Rose. Mastered by Peter Harris
Chaines / Tom Rose - SPLIT
The King is Chaines’ commanding return to Slip: a claustrophobic, dank book of abstracted torch songs, festering in an uneasy grandeur.
The LP collects work diligently amassed in the 3 years since the British composer/producer’s Slip debut ‘OST’, which housed contributions from ‘cellist Oliver Coates and artist Mary Stark within melancholic, uncannily tactile productions. The intervening period has seen Chaines collaborate extensively with the London Contemporary Orchestra, with commissions performed at The Roundhouse, Union Chapel, Printworks, and Tate Modern.
The King sees Chaines’ eccentric, singular language grasp a fresh immediacy and emotive potency. Chaines’ voice is more present than ever – creepy, seductive and pained on the Scott-Walker-does-ASMR of “Eraserhead”, and diva-ghost of “Population 5120” – and their arrangements dissolve the symphonic into freakish forms – “Carpathia” and “Knockturning” spike pastoral organs and flutes with industrial menace and convulsing beatwork.
"Three years ago, Chaines’s debut OST, featuring Oliver Coates on cello and the voice of Mary Stark, was an early jewel in the crown of the imprint. The King represents the sum of Manchester based composer/producer Cee Haines’s work since. And what a piece of work it is. Heaving and shimmering with the strings and winds of The London Contemporary Orchestra, slaphappy with its own electronic convolutions and twisted rhythmatics, vast in scope, rich in execution. The King could stand its own in any royal rumble." - The Wire
Chaines - The King
OST [SLP017], the staggering solo debut from British musician Caroline Haines, AKA Chaines, gathers studio realisations of three commissions completed since 2013’s SPLIT, with Tom Rose. Though written for specific occasions, the pieces are united by a sense of uneasy melodrama, and hallucinogenic flow.
Lead cut ‘OST’ is a 20-minute epic written in collaboration with visual artist Mary Stark (vocals) where cartoonish, Rammstein-style aggression, plaintive guitar lines, and clunking glitch form an impish portrait of the UK’s north-eastern industry. But ‘OST’ is also a sincere love-letter to analogue film, with plush orchestral samples, and Stark’s disembodied voice tenderly blooming from the rubble.
'OST'’s remaining works frame its centrepiece. ‘Here’ - written for Laurie Tompkins’ 2013 Handy tour - is a whistled ode to twilight inebriation, accompanied by faint keys, revving cars, and Badalamenti synths. On ‘I Found This’, Chaines’ warbled melodies merge with Oliver Coates’ muted cello, offset by tickling percussion and recorder chorales. Though OST operates in a place entirely its own, it is perhaps best compared with the work of similarly iconoclastic contemporaries such as Elysia Crampton, Mica Levi, and Dean Blunt.
1. Here - 5:052. OST1 - 7:243. OST2 - 3:154. OST3 - 10:045. I Found This - 5:44
Mastered by Rupert Clervaux
Chaines - OST
'Ample Profanity' is composer Laurie Tompkins and cellist Oliver Coates' collaborative debut: coagulated gristle surfacing from a Beal, Brooklyn-brown, Ray V, Bangs, GAN, Rugs and Works acid bath. The EP collects 5 pieces composed by Laurie and then co-edited and performed with Olly. The former plays keys, tape player, and samples, the latter cello with effects. Both sing.
Here is grazed, contorted classicism, here post-binge hallucinations, here gunky funk.
"I met [Laurie] when I was 16, at school. I don’t know where along the way he’s found that he can make a piece out of flower pots and shouting, and it can be genuinely moving. With Laurie, there’s this thing with Netflix culture and tropes in the promotion of electronic dance music. Like, “you must all listen to footwork now” because they market that at you. Ample Profanity is all about awkward juxtapositions: bits of music from House Of Cards coupled with RP Boo. That’s the headspace he’s in and he’s trying to articulate these as cello rhythms. I find that really satisfying. It looks really spidery and architectural on the page. You’ve got to repeat it 17 times and then shout the next thing, so it’s absurdly difficult to play. To play it physically, the energy of playing it, that’s why I do it." - Oliver Coates, The Wire, September 2018.
Laurie Tompkins / vocals, keys, tape player, samples
Oliver Coates / vocals, cello, effects
--- Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Artwork by Laurie Tompkins and Suze Whaites.
Laurie & Olly - Ample Profanity