Fis – ‘Iterations’ 12″ [Tri Angle Records]

So in case you haven’t noticed, we’re still playing a bit of catch-up, having been away from the platters for a week or two. It’s been a quality few days of music consumption however, with so much goodness having dropped last month and only just reaching our ears now.

Tri Angle Records have really kicked things up a notch lately, slowly moving ahead of the pack in terms of the quality of interesting and new music they’ve been releasing. SD Laika’s debut on the label, That’s Harakiri, was one of the best full-lengths we’ve heard in time, and arriving next in the catalogue is Iterations from Fis.

It’s the second outing from Fis for Tri Angle in as many years, as he slowly builds up his own discography of quality tunes, making the shift from drum n bass to genreless electronics. The four cuts on Iterations are possibly the best form we’ve found him in though, heavily industrial but also restrained and deliberately stacked as dance tracks.

Scattered and raw percussion fast becomes the signature sonic palette of the record, though not always through sounds that sound like they’ve started life as any form of drum. Manipulated chains, pounding floors and sparse echoes are given room to breathe, with an unnatural swing that either chugs along as aggressive techno or pulsing ticks depending on where you are on the record. with one track on each side each taking one of these approaches.

A surprisingly upbeat tempo goes across all but one cut, creating that paranoid on-edge feeling that the likes of Shackelton and Actress have long-since mastered. And yes that means that it’s dark and heavy in areas, but Fis has managed to walk that fine line of making it oddly accessible too.

Just under twenty-minutes long, the tracks work with each other as a whole. Trust me when I say that time really flies listening to this, never being sure what it’s going to throw up around the corner but still allowing you to reach that meditative state that good music allows you to hit. The mids and synths are given an orchestral work over that makes this possible, comparable to when ‘liquid’ started throwing those love-tinged strings in to amen-breaks. There’s nothing soft about the record though, it’s absolute nails start to finish still.

The real standout for us was ‘Her Third Eye (Drum Rain)’, the closing cut on the record. Something very moving about it, where the brutality of Andy Stott meets the genuine emotion of Oneohtrix Point Never. You’re not going to find a lot of cats who can program rhythms like this, stick it on the table and pay close attention, it’s a producer’s record for sure.

Check out the track in question below, press release underneath that again.

via Tri Angle Records
With the release of his ‘Preparations’ EP on Tri Angle in late 2013, Fis and his inimitable and wholly original sound was introduced to the wider world.

Since he first emerged with a series of ultra rare 12” releases in 2012 on various drum & bass oriented labels the Wellington, New Zealand based producer had quietly been tipped on the underground as one to watch. The praise heaped upon ‘Preparations’ definitely seemed to justify the hype that had been building behind the man otherwise known as Oliver Peryman.

Pitchfork referred to Fis as an artist who “was in the process of uncovering an altogether new rhythmic grammar” and on ‘Iterations’, his latest release on Tri Angle, he continues to do just that. It’s still a pretty daunting task trying to explain exactly what Fis sounds like. He’s been referred to as a drum & bass producer but, as XLR8R have rightly stated, “even in the context of the drum & bass resurgence there’s little question that Fis is exploring some exciting, uncharted territory.”

The disorientating and confounding rhythms are still present but, in comparison to ‘Preparations’, ‘Iterations’ feels more expansive and oceanic, less claustrophobic and ever so slightly more approachable. What these 4 tracks confirm is that Fis is a producer who has something important and special to add to the electronic genre.