Roly Porter

Third Law

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Since the dissolution of pioneering dubstep duo Vex'd during the second half of the 2000s, Roly Porter has moved far away from club-oriented electronic music, constructing dense, harrowing soundscapes indebted to 20th century composers such as Giacinto Scelsi and Gy├Ârgy Ligeti. Third Law, his third studio album, is another stunning, occasionally overwhelming mass of sound utilizing choral voices, strings, and vintage synthesizers in addition to pulverizing percussive bursts. Porter uses rhythm sparingly, and when he does, he fashions it into a weapon, attacking at the most tension-filled moments. On "Mass," he builds up a blackened, swarming cloud of static before dropping a drilling, bouncing ball-like rhythmic sequence paired with dazzling harpsichord-like melodies. "Blind Blackening" centers around a brewing storm of audio eventually giving way to slivers of spectral voices that emerge like thin rays of sunlight. "In Flight" contains more unsettling changes in dynamics, starting out still and quiet before launching into rapid-fire clattering beats and flashes of piercing tones. The album's track list suggests the sequence of a voyage into outer space, and by the album's finale, "Known Space," we've reached the final frontier, facing the vastness of the cosmos with a mixture of terror and awe. As eye-opening as its cover art, Third Law is a startling, fascinating listen and another triumph for Porter.

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