House music, years after the club, stripped and muffled under bass-damaged ears.
In all likeliness, many of us will emerge from this subwoofer decade with eardrums damaged so severely that the world us around us will morph into a Basic Channel track, the high end air sucked out and the wobble of bass communicating to us in mere pulses. Our peers and loved ones will speak to us only in muffled tones, not unlike the adults in a Peanuts cartoon. Claro Intelecto, aka Mark Stewart (no relation to the art-terrorist from the Pop-Group), is yet another one of the artist scraping the bottom end of the decibel range for either foundational mortar or pillars buttressing scrap-metal-esque high end signals. On last year’s fantastic Metanarrative, he guided this stripped formula into a principally modern Morlock-dub dance aesthetic.
The silhouetted figures that adorn the cover of Warehouse Sessions, a collection of five previously released 12” EPs and one bonus cut, betray a more industrial sensibility, with which the rhythm section complies. Yet, Warehouse Sessions is not drummed by the clangorous stomp of Einstürzende Neubaten’s lead pipe grit. There’s just generally more of a factory aesthetic too it, shuffles and clicks in hollow vats mixed with the sparsity of classic Detroit micromelodicism. As a result, much of the album’s subterranean frequencies clash with the minimalist textural gloss atop it, resulting in a burgeoning house sound that wants to be a greater presence than it is allowed to be, particularly on the earlier singles, represented chronologically at the front of the album. The album’s second half though is fitted with gems and growers like the glacially escalating “Hunting You Down”, the downtempo dub of “Post”, and the acid-ic “Only Yesterday”, which glimpse the elegant rigor of Metanarrative and suggest good things to come, even if the stated collection is a bit inessential.