I’ve been a fan of emptyset for a while, but last year is when my appreciation for the duo of Paul Purgas and James Ginzburg really blossomed. And by blossom I mean catapulted itself into a deep, ugly mechanical abyss. It’s been glorious.
As I listen to this 12″ right now, it couldn’t be more fucking beautiful outside and somehow that makes Material even better, even more sinister. Material is a collection of site-specific recordings (as indicated by each track’s title) and is an interesting counterpoint to last year’s stellar Collapsed 12″ (still emptyset’s high point and one that is going to be incredibly hard to top). Exacting cold machine-drenched electronics are still the main ingredients here, but over the course of 22 minutes everything is stretched into a sterile, serrated blur.
Where Collapsed was a pummeling jackhammer constantly pounding through speakers cracking skulls apart and leaving a mess of burnt wires inside the empty cavity left behind, Material is far more subtle; it’s playing the long game here. Opener, “Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station” (say that three times fast… actually fuck it, say that once) turns up like scraps left behind in that hollow cavity slowly humming to life, ready to dig deeper and cause more damage. Louder is better with all things emptyset and as this piece rattles the walls, I can feel the static coursing from my speakers as “Ambika P3” dispenses with the niceties, sharpening metal claws. This is the kind of shit you’d hear in a post-Skynet Earth, where the machines are at war and the march to total annihilation is long, drawn out, and as bleak as the nights are black.