M.E.S.H. – Piteous Gate (PAN 66)
Following his acclaimed Scythians EP on PAN last year, M.E.S.H. returns to the label with his debut album, the opulent and dystopian Piteous Gate.
Alongside fellow members of Berlin’s Janus collective, recently behind nights at Berghain and Corsica Studios, M.E.S.H. is known for his futurist approach to club dynamics and production. On Piteous Gate, tightly gridded and sculpted sound juts up against loose-wristed improvisation, automated processes, and collage. Standard club synco- pation is twisted by sliding tempos, cut and paste time signatures, and indeterminate pacing. Its sound design and compositions are ornate, even courtly, with neo-feudal moods offset by the recurrence of hydraulic hiss and flanger.
A synthetic fuel injector revs opener ‘Piteous Gate’ to life. Drawing from action-scifi film trailers and the sound design of festival trance, its hardcore synthlines shatter into ‘Optimate’—stately, spatial, and whiplash-luxurious, with meandering cybernetic drumming. ‘Thorium’ sends a slow-motion camera through a melting test reactor: all burnt VSTs and synthetic theorbo and loose drums. ‘The Black Pill’ smears high-end renaissance sample libraries through arcs of static. In ‘Epithet,’ temple sewer atmospheres are ruptured by ‘Scythians’-style cut-up drums. ‘Jester’s Visage’ indulges a minute-long baroque guitar improv, and territorial youths air their beef in ‘Kritikal & X.’ Closing out the album, ‘Methy Imbiß’ is a machinic rhythm track, and ‘Azov Seepage’ mingles birdlike granular noises with rusted steel clanging.
The LP was recorded in Berlin in winter 2015, mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at D&M, and pressed on 140g LP and CD.