In a minimal electronic production dusted with five or so layers of sample manipulation and filtered synth sweeps, the tone of a bass drum can make or break the whole affair. Thudding through the interstices, maintaining the grid, reminding us that our human hearts beat and pump blood to our extremities — the bass drum has responsibilities to fulfill. It asks us, not so kindly, to move.
If “Fabrik,” the title track of Jannick Schou’s new album on Experimedia, was just a bass drum loop, I would want to listen to it. But the danish ambient/electronic mastermind provides much more, foregrounding his massive fine-grained pulse in a web of lush abstraction populated with corrupted vocal melodies and waves of side-chained static. The industrial grind thickens over five minutes of syncopated pounding as the conveyor belt continues to spin off into infinity.
The visuals for “Fabrik” sketch a black-and-white quasi-narrative of machinery, unionized labor, and public demonstration. Steel girders pass by from the window of a moving vehicle. The crane lowers into the crater. Molten liquid flows into the mold and emerges as a giant metal cylinder. Schou blows the break whistle and the workers set down their tools. They take a breather.