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Harmonic 313-When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence

March 15, 2009

Once again Warp Records outdo themselves; when will they stop? Latest release sees Harmonic 313 offer us his crunchy, chewed up and spat back out take on Hip-Hop/Electro/IDM with great effect. The man is not from Detroit, but the homely town of Yeovil in England.  With his early exposure to various artists like My Bloody Valentine and Carl Craig, he has went on to have numerous releases on various labels over the years. But now he’s landed on Warp.

Harmonic 313 AKA Mark Pritchard

Harmonic 313 AKA Mark Pritchard

The opener of the album Dirtbox might be a reference to someones arse but the song sets the tone for the album. The opening sample is cut short with a wobbly bassline that screams ASBO if your stereo is loud enough. The second track Cyclotron is more Dabrye on 2/3, very bassy and ear crunching, with some 8 bit sounds mixed in for good measure.

K”ln is a bit more downtempo than the first few, its eerie pads and laser-tastic sounds are something that we associate with label mate and Glasgow Aquacrunk G, Rustie. Galag-a follows suit with some drippy sounds and a scathing drum that has you scratching yourself even though you’re no itchy. The counterpoint sound of this track is almost Boards of Canada(Warp, AGAIN)like, which is not a bad thing by any means.

On Battlestar, the Detroit influence becomes more apparent as he teams up with a couple of Detroit legends and Dilla/Black Milk foes in Elzhi and Fat Kat.  This is arguably my favorite track on the album; standard Hip-Hop beat with some gruff rhymes from the aforementioned protagonists. If Dilla and Dabrye had a baby, the baby would produce tracks like this.

Call to arms is almost a straight Hip-Hop affair, but it sounds as if Harmonic has blagged Vangelis’s keyboard/synths for it, such is its Blade Runner feel. Good track, the only problem here is the track could be shorter; over 4 minutes of the same instrumental beat looping gets a little tiring.

Flaash is an amalgamation of various sounds; Acid squelching, Electro hi-hats and stripped down drums. I caught my head trying to break my neck with this track, not one for the ladies. Again this falls victim to being longer than necessary.

Falling Away features Steve Spacek on the ghostly vocals. This track is more downtempo compared to the rest, it’s almost Burial sounding. The vocals work well with the sweeping pads and what seems to be Harmonic 313’s trademark on this album, the constant drilling of the hook, and towards the end we’re introduced to a short glissando of a xylophone(I think anyway), which fits in well.

The last track, Quadrant 3, is more serious affair than the rest. Very industrial, distorted sounds form the basis of this track, with a itchy drum kick and metalic snare make this song sound a chore, but infact it’s very good. Halfway through we’re treated to a brekadown of sorts, where the synths that were lurking in behind all of the distorted, organised noise, take over and the track its flipped on its arse. The remainder of the track is beatless and the aforementioned synths and pads merge into an ethereal soundscape were used to hearing from Boards of Canada or Telefon Tel Aviv.

Overall, the album is great, not exactly groundbreaking by any means, but if you’re a fan of crunchy, bit destroying, well constructed, electronic-tinged Hip-Hop, then go gets.

Support your local store by buying HERE.

Harmonic 313 plays the indespensible Sub Club in Glasgow for the bass stalwarts over at Kinky Afro, details below:

Kinky Afro

Friday March 27th

Harmonic 313 LP  Launch

The Sub Club, 22 Jamaica St, Glasgow
11pm till 3am

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