still – remains (2005)

For those unaware, hip-hop outfit Dälek were formerly comprised of three members – Oktopus (Alap Momin – producer), Dälek (Will Brooks – rapper) & Still (Hsi-chang Lin – turntablist), but Lin left Dälek in 2005 around about the time this release, Remains came out.

If you consider the media lumping of the four elemental hip-hop components, DJing is held accountable as a seminal aspect however Remains begs to question the conventional archetypes of turntablism not dissimilar to Otomo Yoshihide’s experiments with turntables. The difference is Yoshihide’s experiments were more of an improvised musique concrete while Lin’s Still project was meticulously preplanned, and in the case of Remains, organised over the course of 2 years and captured in one session over this 35 minute recording.

It begins with a harrowingly noisy assault, piercing through a dense tapestry of layers on the aptly titled Once Confronted. This severity slowly subsides as the release continues, easing itself into a much more bleak ambience through Atrophy, A Dream You Were Alive & Need. Futility finally see’s Remains slip into a lush lining of warm, fuzzy samples, decorated with aged vinyl pops and hisses that’s calmly followed by a post-apocalyptic aftermath befitting of such a progressively unnerving release.

It’s easy to see how Lin contributed to Dälek given his composition of layers and understanding of a smooth interactivity, but Remains shows a much more advanced approach to this methodology that he may have had to restrain within the collective. For those looking for beats, you get few to none here; if you instead want a dynamic & almost hypnotic progression of despair, this is just as dark as any Dälek record if not more.