Published May 13, 2019Raised in the Parisian hip-hop scene before emigrating to Berlin and reinventing himself as a purveyor of post-hardcore electronics, producer Paolo Combes — aka smog — is as adventurous as he is fresh-faced. Relatively new on the scene, his music is woven with fragments of jungle, ambient, industrial and avant-garde, in a manner not all that different from Lee Gamble's experimental excursions. While he lacks the tenure of a veteran like Gamble, smog's boundary-pushing sound is already showing signs of maturity.
The sequel'70 LP is Combes' first full-length and arrives via the oqko collective, which he co-founded with DEKJ (Mexican sound artist Hugo Esquinca) and Icelandic producer astvaldur. On it, broken metallic structures burst from crumbling, burnt-out foundries, and mechanoid creatures writhe in stutter-step across rusty sheets of diamond plate steel. This is a world of punishing beats, bit-crushed tones and squelchy static, where jungle breakbeats are fragmented and spiked with the blown-out bass of industrial. It's where a buzzy ambient haze crackles like a busted electrical transformer.
Across its 36-minute runtime, sequel'70 introduces smog's modus operandi as an intricately laid-out plan to destroy eardrums as provocatively as possible. It's a compelling collection of tracks, and a stunning debut from an artist who is certainly one for folks to be keeping their eyes and ears on. (Oqko)