An Unsettling Soundtrack Journey…
Opting for the darker end of the electronic music palette, Dicepeople have chalked up an impressive catalogue of tunes since the outfit’s formation in 2013. Previously, we explored the gothic delvings of 2018 album One From Many (see The Electricity Club review hither), which summed up Dicepeople’s ethos for sinister synths and sombre beats. But earlier this year, they also returned with the prescient Destroyed EP.
Consisting of Matt Brock (musician, songwriter and producer) and Zmora (vocalist), the tracks that comprised Destroyed (see TEC review) were penned prior to the Coronavirus crisis, yet the raw, frenetic electropop seemed to be a timely reflection of the culture at the time. On that basis, it might be easy to conclude that Dicepeople would continue that trend for material written in the height of lockdown. Instead, they’ve returned with Edge of Delirium, an EP of material that showcases their ability for brooding, often uncomfortable soundscapes.
Eschewing the vocal talents of Zmora for this effort, Matt Brock instead focussed on writing a purely instrumental work. Brock also put aside synths, drum machines and other electronic instruments for this work – including third party samples. Instead, the work was produced using samples recorded within the home on an iPhone, then processed with filters, modulators and other effects.
The end result of this effort is a strange, claustrophobic piece of work that sounds like a lost soundtrack from a horror movie culled from the universe next door. This shouldn’t be surprising given that Dicepeople’s Matt Brock has frequently cited iconic filmmakers such as David Lynch and David Cronenberg as influences. Certainly, Edge of Delirium seems custom-made for a cinematic body horror outing, but in this instance the stories can only be conjured up in the imagination of the listeners.
Opener ‘Memories That Might Have Been’ has a strangely hypnotic sound to it, the various layered effects beating out a rhythmic mood that offers up a disconcerting beauty. By contrast, ‘Closing Down’ drops in unsettling sounds and immersive tones that intrigue the ears while still being uncomfortable.
Meanwhile, the EP’s title track stays on-point with a murky and ever-shifting soundscape that evokes doubt and unease. Drifting into hymnal territory, the composition offers an almost physical presence that’s tough to shake off.
‘Trapped in a Fever Dream’, similarly, paints images of uncharted landscapes and unknown territories. Elsewhere, ‘It Comes For You’ has a consistent feeling of threat that’s never easily defined.
Of all the tracks present here, ‘Communion’ perhaps treads closer to the classic Dicepeople sound. Here, pulsing beats echo out against mechanised percussive effects.
Edge of Delirium is a compelling piece of work, at times inducing fear and uncertainty and others a mesmerising atmospheric journey.
In keeping with the strangeness of the finished EP (and the strange circumstances we find ourselves), Edge of Delirium is only available to download between certain hours of the day. That itself could be considered a commentary on commercialisation of music, but in many ways gives the EP a value set apart from the simple availability of a lot of music today.
If you’re an enthusiast for soundtracks and also have an interest in darkwave pop efforts, then Dicepeople’s Edge of Delirium is likely to be an essential EP in your music collection.
(The download link is only available between 12:00am and 6:00am BST (UK time) )