Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Review: JK Flesh – 'Nothing Is Free'

'Nothing Is Free'

Justin Broadrick has done it all. As an artist, producer, musician, and remixer he has lent his skills to a myriad of bands and projects that have become influential in their own right. From an early tenure with Napalm Death, through to his best known projects Godflesh and Jesu, as well as side projects such as Techno Animal, Pale Sketcher, and Council Estate Electronics, he has dabbled in a variety of genres and stayed at the forefront of them all with each release.

Out of all of his projects though it is JK Flesh that perhaps is closest to a true solo project. Yet with his talents as a multi instrumentalist the project has only seen one full-length album in the form of 2012's 'Posthuman' and a spilt EP with Pruriant the following year. Finally though 2015 sees an EP follow up to 'Posthuman' in the form of 'Nothing Is Free'.

As with the first album the EP blends elements of dub, industrial and noise into a heady and oppressive mix of throbbing beats, swirling synths, static, distorted vocals, and subtle melodies that is cerebral in its execution. Elements of Whitehouse, Throbbing Gristle, Coil, Dälek, as well as nods to the rhythms and bass of Godflesh and Techno Animal crop up throughout, but on the whole there is a distinct dedication to the post-dub rhythms and bass to comprise the back bone Of the album.

Tracks such as 'Nothing Is Free', 'Kontorted', 'Offering', 'They Own You' and 'Nails' enjoy the most commercial/accessible end of the spectrum with a little club potential in places that adventurous DJs would risk. While the likes of 'Hide And Seek', 'Boundless Submission', and 'Pleasurer' engage in far more experimental sounds and structures that adds a level of brutality to an otherwise rhythmically pleasing outing.

The album is gritty, experimental and nasty. It has a grimy, heavy atmosphere reminiscent of Godflesh, while maintaining its rhythmic appeal. It's a hard combination to balance out and Broadrick has done a damn good job of it here. If you're approaching this from a Godflesh angle it is familiarly heavy and discordant. And if you're approaching it from a Jesu angle, it is a hard and experimental listen but one that is engaging and eclectic. It may be a release doomed to be overlooked due to the vast number of Broadrick's projects and releases. But seek it out and it is definitely a rewarding listen.

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