Rating: 8 / Format: CD / Label: Mordant Music

A production duo and sure footed record label (with a very strong, if slightly sideways musical outlook), Mordant Music have long lurked in the shadows of techno infused dubstep, and have built a unique aesthetic out of press releases written in archaic prose, albums packaged in teardrop-shaped gatefolds and 3" CDs in petri dishes. As well as their own stuff, they’ve released a handful of, ’til now, vinyl only releases from Skull Disco founder Shackleton. Picking O’er the Bones – as one might infer from the title – compiles the aforementioned Shackleton releases alongside long sold-out single releases from Mordant and new material from the duo.

Shackleton’s neurotic, square-bass mutilating ‘Stalker’ gloriously sets the pace, with its glitched marching drums and baron mid-range offering a harrowing introduction, and the breathy melodics and stringently reverbed percussion on ‘I Want To Eat You’ unfurl into what is one of Shack’s strongest and most underrated productions to date. Over a split album Mordant’s productions start to compliment Shack’s stripped back, percussion-heavy style – the detuned air lock atmospherics on ‘Olde Wobbly’ provide an anxious kind of relief, while the impossibly high-pitched vocal sample on ‘The Hauntological Song’ and the balls-out pace and groaning textures of the Michael Jackson dedicated ’24 Million or Sell Neverland’ show that MM can comfortably switch from cerebral to danceable – so long as the end product’s on the dark side and as jarring as humanly possible.

Near faultless, if not necessarily easy to listen to, Picking O’er the Bones does a graceful job of displaying the kind of wonderfully weird avant-garde productions the Mordant camp have become renowned for, while adding to the label’s oeuvre with a worthy compilation.

Oli Marlow

Mordant Music homepage



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