I come back home and discover something I’ve been eagerly waiting for; a cardboard vinyl mailer, placed cautiously against the wall near the door of my room. It doesn’t take me long to drop all my other plans for the next hour or so as I quickly open it up to reveal a pristinely wrapped record. Whities 011; its finally here.
Whities 011 comes in the form of a thought provoking four-track EP by the relatively unknown Glaswegian producer and DJ; Lanark Artefax. Aside from his debut ‘Glasz’ EP on Lee Gamble’s label UIQ in 2016, Whities 011 serves as Calum MacRae’s first entry into the world of left-field experimentalist IDM as this alias.
Throughout this EP, Lanark Artefax takes you on a journey to a place of calm; starting most notably with the introductory track, ‘Flickering Debris’, where delicate, fragile pads and shattered, ethereal choir vocals lift you from your seat and transport you into a post-apocalyptic electronic playground. Intricate and intelligently designed laser stabs cut through the mix filling the track with urgency and intensity. We hear snippets of chilling distant voices that hang eerily in the background, like a forgotten memory; dizzying your emotional compass and forcing you to reflect on what you are hearing with full focus.
This first track serves as the perfect introduction to the EP as we are transitioned to the second track in the listing; ‘Touch Absence’; which is easily the most upbeat and dance-orientated tune on the record. Whilst the similar celestial and spacey synths still form a tender base for the track; we hear huge floating, splintered bass hits that ricochet around in the airy space provided by the lightweight and skeletal beat. The regimented percussion marches you through the track as every other sound transforms and mutates above your head up to its progressive peak, before humbly fading off into the distance and giving way to the next song.
‘Hyphen to Splice’ is the penultimate track; a glitchy, seemingly disorganised track that eventually starts to piece itself together with soft, passing synths and long rising bass tones scattered throughout. A beautifully fuzzy melody weaves its way into the front of the track and all the elements melt away into the background. The mystic vocals appear once again and tames the track to its closing moment.
The EP rounds itself off with by far my personal favourite of the bunch. ‘Voices Near the Hypocentre’ is the slowest, most touching and dystopian-esque track of the whole EP and pushes Lanark Artefax’s emotional boundaries, using serenity and intensity in a way that both clashes and compliments one another simultaneously. The track starts low and slow with a elongated string section in which the sound stretches out to what seems like almost breaking point. It hesitates with silence for a mere moment just to recompose and re-establish the familiar choir-esque vocals that have been holding your hand as you drift through the entirety of the EP.
As the calmness just starts to set in; we again hear the laser stabs that were at the forefront of ‘Touch Absence’. This time however they seem to rush past and speed up, racing ahead of you until it you can no longer hear each individual note, just an intense tone. The track starts to come to an end as the laser stabs slow and fluctuate and the pressure is released from the track entirely; gently placing you back down to your seat you began on, eagerly waiting to hear more from this other world.
Lanark followed this EP with another record; coming as the B side on another new Whities release series named ‘Blue 01’ alongside a huge Tessela track ‘Glisten’. The ‘Intimidating Stillness Mix’ of ‘Touch Absence’ creates an entirely different feeling to the original, introducing rattling breaks, growling bass and weighty kicks into the atmospheric universe.
Expect to hear a lot more music from Lanark Artefax as he is certainly one to watch in the near future.