It isn’t often an artist seems to materialize from nowhere with a sound so disinterested in following any conventional rules that it inspires equal measures bafflement and astonishment, but in 2012 with the release of the ‘Unknown Vectors’ EP, Milwaukee based producer Sd Laika did just that. Taking the already alien sounds of grime music as a starting off point and abrasively twisting them into something even more unknowable, Laika had developed a sound that defied any easy categorization. 2 years later Dummy Magazine would come to refer to this record as ‘one of the most jaw-droppingly inventive debuts in recent memory and ought to be considered “the other ‘Cold Mission’” (in reference to the highly acclaimed Logos LP from 2013)’. After ‘Unknown Vectors’ Sd Laika became something of a mystery, disappearing from the scene altogether leaving behind him a small, but hardcore cult fanbase convinced they’d glimpsed something very special in those 5 tracks. It was only in 2013 when Tri Angle approached Sd Laika that a new record began to take shape. This record would end up consisting of songs Sd Laika had recorded in 2011 and 2012, songs he’d convinced himself would never see the light of day. For various reasons it looked likely Unknown Vectors would wind up being Laika’s one and only ever release, which is why we’re so excited (and as huge fans, relieved) to announce the release of his debut album ‘That’s Harakari’.
Listening to ‘That’s Harakari’ for the first time, the key sensation that grabs hold is one of disorientation as the record constantly shifts in atmosphere and tone. Over the space of these 11 songs it’s hard to know whether one should be terrified, laughing, disturbed, or dancing. Perhaps two tracks best typify how ‘That’s Harakari’ feels like it’s constantly at odds with itself as meditative and claustrophobic elements clash for some kind of dominance; ‘Great God Pan’ which takes the cold futuristic timbres of grime music, shoots them out into space and beams them back at us as a lonely alien transmission and ‘Meshes’ with it’s grinding tourniquet rhythm sounding like a UK funky track having had the funk brutally strangled out of it. Elsewhere on the album ‘It’s Ritual’ comes across as a rabid tech house banger turning inside out on itself, ‘I Don’t’ sounds like a pirate radio station being high jacked by Autechre for 3 unhinged minutes, while ‘You Were Wrong’ and it’s combination of drunken piano lines and sharp blasts of white noise finds Laika at his most playful and prankish. The schizophrenic nature of the record is deeply reflective of the singular mindset behind it and also of the turbulent time it’s creator went through whilst making and assembling this album. In this sense ‘That’s Harakari’ as brash and provocative as it can occasionally seem is an extremely emotionally charged record.
Listen to ‘Meshes’, the first song taken from ‘That’s Harakari’;
That’s Harakari Track List
02. Great God Pan
03. Gutter Vibrations
04. I Don’t
06. Remote Heaven
07. You Were Wrong
08. Don’t Know
10. It’s Ritual
Sd Laika, aka Peter Runge, will release his forthcoming, LP That’s Harakari on April 28, 2014 via Tri Angle Records. The LP will be available at all digital retailers and in stores on vinyl and CD.