Described as the sound of the post-Brexit dystopia of now, Belfast’s Gross Net was initially a guitar/bass/drum-machine duo of Philip Quinn (Girls Names) and Christian Donaghey (Autumns). Now a solo endeavour, Quinn continues to make Gross Net a statement of intent - an idea borne out of a dissatisfaction with the safeness and homogeneity of current music in general.
Gross Net’s debut LP, ‘Quantitative Easing’, was released via Touch Sensitive Records in November 2016, and acts as the disparate counterpart to Philip Quinn’s other band Girls Names. With the aid of synthesisers, sequencers, virtual studio technology, a “slew of effects”, vocals and the occasional electric guitar, ‘Quantitative Easing’ draws from the industrial parentage of the likes of Throbbing Gristle et al, while also channeling the fear and futurism of the European Cold Wave.
While most music is less politically charged these days, Quinn makes a point of employing themes which reflect the dark times we’re living in, and his brooding interpretation of cultural and political crisis is a refreshing take on the subject at hand. Quinn also depicts depression using a hybrid of brutal rhythms and existential themes, making it an honest and realistic evocation of mental illness.
New single, ‘Still Life’ is a perfect example of everything that triumphs on Gross Net’s debut: dark, icy electronics, foreboding, obscured vocals and a general sense of uneasiness at play. It’s not an easy listen, but for all the best reasons. Afterall, if ever there was a time for music to be dark and confrontational, it would be now.