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Untied Knot - Falling Off the Evolutionary Ladder

  by Keith How

published: 27 / 8 / 2019

Untied Knot - Falling Off the Evolutionary Ladder
Label: Sonic Imperfection
Format: CD


Impressive and inventive third album from experimental South London duo the Untied Knot which using improvisations is a step in a new direction

Consisting of Matt Donovan (percussion/synthesisers) and Nigel Bryant (guitar/bass/synthesisers), the Untied Knot seem to go about their business in a quiet and unassuming manner. 'Sketches for a Lost Summer' (2009) was a restrained and mostly acoustic album.2016’s 'Description of a Flame' stirred the waters with its shimmering atmospheres and drones. Since then Donovan and Bryant have both been involved in various projects including the Untied Knot, and have put in some live performances in and around London. 'Falling Off the Evolutionary Ladder' is ten tracks of cut and paste improvisations built up from recorded improvisations. The often massive, cavernous drum sound and raspy, over-driven guitars build up a post-minimal tension perfectly suited to the times we live in. The jagged and almost chaotic piecing together of samples has that whole 'lo-fi' aesthetic atmosphere of a primal industrial landscape.'Tattooed Brain', for example, includes a shredding guitar solo that is full of passion almost lost among the chaotic, driving beat and jagged guitar work. 'Ladder' is far removed from the drones of 'Flame'. The cornucopia of dark riffs and sometimes a Jah Wobble-ish bass ('Paper Universe') hold the set together, despite the sense of deconstruction and menace that is the prevailing feel of the record. The opening track is 'Falling Over', a techno drone that leads into the future dub of 'Activation/Image Under Construction'. Bryant’s buzzsaw guitar is edgy and almost frantic while Donovan is rock steady on drums. Sometimes you are gripped by a feeling of implied anger and chaos from Bryant's frenetic knife edge guitar. Rattling percussive patterns cause a sharp intake of breath, as such is the noise that seems to explode from some underground lair out into the open air, scattering sonic shrapnel into space. I am reminded of Rothko’s 2018 'Blood Demands More Blood' album, which had similar dark and uneasy textures. Think P.I.L. without Lydon? The relentless hypnotic industrialism gives way to 'The Anthropocene', a slower slice of space rock that builds into menacing dark funk. Howling guitars swirl around while Donovan’s drum pattern holds a tribal beat. 'A Handful of Molecules', however, feels like a cosmic free form jam as strange electronics weave in between scattergun percussion. At no point does 'Ladder' fall into the trap of repetition. Each composition finds its own place, despite the minimal instrumentation as experienced in the final track, 'Rhythm From Three Intervals'. Starting with an almost melodic feel, the track picks up speed before dropping into a post-rock influenced conclusion. 'Ladder' is completely instrumental, music for our disrupted and uncertain times speaking of turbulence and speed of life reflecting modern life in 2019.

Track Listing:-
1 Falling Off
2 Activation/Image Under Construction
3 Span of Knife Fight
4 The Anthropocene
5 Primitive Tech
6 Tattooed Brain
7 Paper Universe
8 Body Angles
9 A Handful of Molecules
10 Rhythm from Three Intervals

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Description of a Flame (2016)
Fearless third album from creative London-based electronic instrumental duo, the Untied Knot

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