‘Fatal Light Attraction’ was written in preparation for a live performance at Berlin Atonal festival. During that performance, lights, which were coded to respond to Kerridge’s audio output, played a role almost as important as the music - ‘the illusion of a moving shadow’ - which worked as a counterpoint to the noise.
That doesn’t mean that the tracks off ‘FLA’ are inappropriate for home listening. Samuel Kerridge’s most recent work is just as engaging on a home sound system as it is blasted from a Void rig, accompanied by a seizure-inducing audio-visual experience.
But that depends on your definition of appropriate. Kerridge has produced a blistering catalogue over the last few years. His indefinable stew of industrial, punk, drone and ambient techno has always been some of the best in the genre. More importantly, it has always sounded unique. On ‘FLA’, out on Downwards Records, the Mancunian is again drawing from that distinct pool of grating, dread-infused noise.
Despite the brutalistic intensity on show here, ‘FLA’ also demonstrates a more harmonious streak that has always existed in Samuel Kerridge’s work. Underneath the industrial groans and hisses of previous album ‘Always Offended, Never Ashamed’ lay a subtle and melodic world. This layer becomes a little more prominent of ‘FLA’. That’s not to say the album is a tender, sensitive work. No, buzz-saw synths, distorted voices and rumbling kicks are still the focus here. But underneath that, Kerridge’s melodies move like glaciers: majestic and heaving, slow but dynamic. At times, the rhythm shifts towards something almost danceable, but moments like these never last long and are deconstructed almost instantaneously. This music is not for dancing to.
It would be wrong to look at ‘FLA’ as an incomplete document of a live performance. As an album, it’s a complete musical work. But what ‘FLA’ does do is make you wish for the full, audio-visual experience. If Kerridge’s work does one thing well, it is engaging the listener. This music is not for half-hearted listening – ‘FLA’ is an LP that demands full attention.
Words: Alex Green
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