Of all contemporary electronic music tropes, maybe none has imprinted itself on us deeper, for better or worse, than “the drop.” Everyone knows what’s about to happen once that scale starts to climb and the beat speeds up — probably we’re going to have the air-sucked-from-the-speakers effect and then whoa, hold on tight. As ubiquitous as “distortion on the chorus” was two generations ago, the drop has become its own shorthand and joke, built for both parody and deconstruction.
Happily, digital saboteur (and TMT favorite) Jesse Osborne-Lanthier has done just that on “Lick And A Promise,” a highlight from his forthcoming Unalloyed, Unlicensed, All Night! EP. All anticipation, “Lick” builds to a climax that never comes, riding a synth melody to its peak and over and over and then starting from scratch before knocking down the whole thing in a wall of noise and broken rhythm. Recorded in a whirlwind two-hour session before a set in Paris, Unalloyed plays with this tension throughout its run time, taking apart and frustrating the very quality — release — that often makes dance music so moving.
The EP is the latest in Raster-Noton’s “Unun” series, named after chemical elements 111-119. This record is numbered for element 119, Ununennium, a “hypothetical chemical element” concerning which (according to Wikipedia) “[m]ultiple attempts have been made by American, German, and Russian teams to synthesize [it]: they have all been unsuccessful, as experimental evidence has shown that the synthesis of ununennium will likely be far more difficult than that of the previous elements, and it may even be the penultimate element that can be synthesized with current technology.” Interpret that how you will.
Unalloyed, Unlicensed, All Night! will be available January 13 from Raster-Noton. Listen to “Lick And A Promise,” which we are excited to premiere, below: