Whilst everyone was consuming exorbitant amounts of booze and sun over summer, local synth wizards Laedj have been tirelessly at work adding to their arsenal of synths and samples to cultivate a new soundscape that’s densely textured, triumphantly transportive and very much their own. The genre-defying, ethereal space rockers’ latest EP, ‘Bug In The Mainframe’ is our first taste of the quintet in 2019 and one that we here at HUM are stoked to premiere.
All remarkably recorded in one take at Inventions Studios in Footscray, the 20-minute instrumental odyssey never ventures beyond the shadows of what feels like a dystopian future. It’s kraut-rock-esque synth-prog style provides a landscape by which the 5-piece take their darkest dive yet into themes of oppression and futility.
Opening with an interview between a journalist and schizophrenic pianist from the 70’s, the patient’s cold-hearted calm mimics that of artificial intelligence. As he begins to describe how his demeanour descends when not tickling the ivory, a chorus-driven guitar riff and synth melody take hold. The bass provides a steady anchor from which these volatile elements lurk, whilst live drums similarly imbue the electronics with a human pulse. As the arrangement builds, embodying elements of new wave and post rock, there’s a relentless animosity that looms in its climax. In a suspected metaphor for where humanity is headed, there exists the sensation of being paralysed by the thing you fear, whilst being helplessly drawn into its pull.
Harsh sawtooth synths cut through electrified organic ambient sounds to create an artificial backdrop to second track ‘III’. Mirroring the darker grooves of Massive Attack, the drum and bass combination conjures an overcast ambience with arpeggiated synths that dance between octaves. Dreamily rising from the dread, cymbals and keys clamour with newfound brighter tones with a levity that, due to its preceding components, fails to feel completely weightless. An intermission spurns a manipulative arpeggiated sequence, feigning at one rhythm before the drums lead your ears in a different direction altogether. Bass drives the score as guitars gnash away, synths further compelling things skyward with a two-chord passage that moves upward before the tether that ties you to the ground eventually regains its pull. Those voices from the opening moments return, disintegrating and stagnating as the 12-minute journey abruptly halts.