Sculpture – ‘Slime Code’ LP [Digitalis]

Wanted to get something on this asap, before they all fly out, as Sculpture output is stupidly good. Add in some damn good designs on the platter and for once it’s a record that I don’t actually mind shelling out £12 for.

Sculpture as a group represents the pairing of Dan Hayhurst and Reuben Sutherland who push the boundaries like no one else. Their ‘Toad Blinker‘ EP that dropped in 2011 was simply brilliant in music and in concept; the Bonus Level cut being a definite highlight from the year which I distinctly remember playing on our first NTS show. Digging back a bit further in to their catalogue turned up a second Dekorder release done in 2010 titled ‘Rotary Signal Emitter‘, equally quality, but for which I’ve never been able to justify the £50 minimum price tag that it’s had for a number of years on Discogs. Both these plates are highly collectible not only due to the music pressed upon them but also being what’s called ‘zeotrobe’ plates, meaning the picture disks presents an animation when spinning on the platter and viewed through a camera. Check below for the reference.

The new record is their best work to date. Slime Code has been through a few incarnations before reaching us on wax, the initial release being a limited cassette and free digital download, and before that live recordings on an eight-track (check the full story at Tapebox: The wax comes it at just under 20 minutes each side, though can be carved up in to four distinct sections, somewhere, sounding somewhere between Keith Fullerton Whitman, Shed and Ghedalia Tazartes.

This is our top release at the moment, check some samples below followed by the press release and a proper run down of the record.

via Digitalis
Sculpture is perhaps best known for the zoetrope picture discs they’ve released via Dekorder in the last few years. This multimedia duo of Dan Hayhurst (audio) and Reuben Sutherland (visual) keeps challenging the ideas we hold about collaboration into new and unsuspecting realms and pushing the boundaries of the physical medium. Following their LPs on Dekorder, they concocted Slime Code for Patten’s Kaleidoscope label and, again, found new ways to stretch their limits. This music was performed live to 8-track tape by Hayhurst and Sutherland on July 1st, 2011. Hayhurst then compiled seven unique c20 dubs. From those tapes, a digital edit was compiled and from that came this exclusive vinyl edit. Slime Code has been through one hell of a journey before the wax even has a chance to freeze your ear drums.

But in the end, the concept takes a backseat to the results. Unsurprisingly, Slime Code is a stunning piece of work. Visually and sonically, disorientation and imperfection play a major role. From the bewildering and complex cover art straight down to the insanity of its scope, Slime Code’s impact starts from the second you get that record in your hands and doesn’t end until the broken tribal blasts and cybernetic electronics close down the show. Straight off, Hayhurst and Sutherland have you. Submerged blips act like aural drips falling into a rapidly-flowing river of tropical bounce until dissolving into squalls of synthetic noise.

Sculpture are constantly reshuffling the decks, though, and just when you think you’ve settled into a particular groove, they’ve moved onto new underwater explorations. It’s playful and incredibly engaging. Sure, they may be fucking with you, but it’s so much fun you can’t help but dive in anyway. Ahead, industrial beats pound out four-to-the-floor rhythms while layer-upon-layer of digital squelch is parsed into vivid imagery. It moves with such pace that it’s hard to get a breath. This is music that has an alternate life in the visual world – you can see it as well as you can hear it. It will envelop you until you can’t help but drink it all in.

What makes Slime Code such a success is how Hayhurst and Sutherland continuously take their ideas apart until everything is scattered into space. As Sculpture pick their toys back up to put them back together, it becomes obvious that just dropping everything again so it’s strewn everywhere is not only more fun, but makes for better listening. Slime Code is an endless sea-floor labyrinth where breathing is optional.