Christoph De Babalon

If You're Into It, I'm Out of It

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Given the space that a 70-minute double record provides, Christoph de Babalon is given the room he needs to stretch out properly. His EPs are respectable on their own, but his ideas are too numerous and vast to be constricted by EP lengths. The 15 minutes of "Opium" recall Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works, Vol. II, but stripped of all sense of beauty. Beatless, the track is full of slightly oppressive drones and sampled laughing; the stretched, distorted, and looped cackles surge like waves for an extended length. Much of what follows is nasty drum'n'bass, perhaps qualifying as "junkle". It doesn't quite reach the levels of extremity that the remainder of the DHR roster is prone to. That doesn't mean it's soothing, and one thing the LP has going for it is a resistance to formula and gimmickry. The lone common thread is that everything gets covered in silt. No one can doubt the sense-assaulting capabilities, but they're not achieved by turning every knob to 11. That also separates the record from the rest of the Digital Hardcore catalog. It might not be as direct, visceral, or punishing, but the soundwaves are just as renegade and commanding of your attention. Most indicative track title: "Nostep."

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