Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shark Logic: Thr Bristol Groove

Shark Logic is an experimental industrial alternative drone techno noise rock duo hailing from the southern English town of Bristol and were formed back in 2010 by vocalist Tom Kennedy and his old friend guitarist Tim Leesam. The simple fact of emerging from Bristol makes us almost inevitably digress about the worldly known bristolian music scene for its reputation for innovation, experimentation and quality thanks to a bunch of rather successful acts like Portishead, Massive Attack, Martina Topley Bird, Tricky, Ilya and Fuck Buttons.

Bristol is somehow a city of contradictions home to a trend wide range of artists who've drawn their inspiration from the city’s rich spectrum of musical counter-cross-currents. Back in the early 80s most of those who made things happen in the Bristol music scene were playing in bands like Rip, Rig And Panic or Pigbag which is an interesting piece of information that helps to understand why the Bristol sound mark was tinted upon an open state of mind, allowing mingling punks, rastas, DJ’s, hippies, hip hoppers and jungles without making any effort to mute or replace ones for the others but did quite the opposite attempting to culturally embrace them all in a superb melting pot music scene.

In the Bristolian music history Hip Hop performs a central role instead of Pop Rock. Bands were replaced by posses formed by rappers, sound men, sound system units, speaker stacks, DJ’s. Suddenly guitars, basses, drums and vocals were relegated to a sub-dimension while the Bristol blasted a new exhilarating vibe that begun spreading all over the UK.

Getting back to Shark Logic we acknowledge that their first two EPs respectively “The Brick Under Your Bed” from 2012 and “Cerebral Bore” from 2013 were some sort of very different field experiences being the first EP simply electronic ambience and the second a rather noisy aural experiment.

As far as we understand, these experiences answer to the need of musical identity building so it is pretty natural that initially Shark Logic did not attempt to limit their sound experimentation to any particular genre or style. Apart from allowing both Tom and Tim to have some fun with home studio equipment both “The Brick Under Your Bed” and “Cerebral Bore” essentially served as possibilities to find out different musical pathways although it seems rather obvious with “The Brick Under Your Bed” that the band experimented different electronic approaches for future exploration.

Shuffling all songs we can perceive that each one of them works like electro-exercises infused in House and Downtempo vibes. “Cerebral Bore” works as the second chapter of this set of sound experiments with a different outcome when compared to the first EP. The guitar presence, the programmed drum patterns help translate Shark Logic sound into a deeper, much grittier, dirtier industrial noise rock infused sonic-scape in straight opposition to “The Brick Under Your Bed”. Both two EP experiments have actually helped quite much to clear the way to depurate “Salt The Earth” redefining sound and songwriting, creative process.

“Salt the Earth” puts away some initial influences blending electronic and industrial noise rock in some aesthetically cohesive product which far from the earlier playing around with technology without frontiers offers the listener an enthusiastic trip through nine songs that are a pleasure to the mind and not only to the ears.

Each song with its layers and textures of sound and noise results in pretty cool cinematic trailer themes due to a rather rich sonic imagery that redirects us to some highly potential influences we find present in “Salt The Earth” such as Throbbing Gristle; Sunn O))); Massive Attack; U.N.K.L.E.; Chris & Cosey; Portished; Tricky. No, this is not a menu of influences to make our task easier, but without many of them “Salt The Earth” would not be eventually possible.

The effort to create without any genre limitation was a good way to start for Shark Logic and a very prolific one since it allowed them to make this very good album though after listening to all their work I find hard not to sense that “Salt The Earth” end up being tremendously bristolian after all and did not manage to escape the omnipresence of that Massive Attack/Robert Del Naja atmosphere.

If one has doubts about it just check out the awesome “mezzaninesque” “Penny” and all your doubts will vanish away. This is not a criticism nor a debasement in fact it is quite the contrary. Shark Logic assume their musical environment aiming for much more. Highly recommend their debut album.