While 'Soft Absolve' may serve as Gumsmile's first cohesive step into the electronic music landscape, he's no stranger to visceral heaviness, having spent years playing guitar in several hardcore outfits. This may help to frame the space in which 'Soft Absolve' exists. Bristly, gnashing synths clash against relentlessly pummelling percussion and throbs of bass, while demented vocal snippets weave around uneasily. "Popped in" pushes and pulls you around, at points disintegrating to nearly noise, only to crash in again like a machine, clicking, whirring and pulsating. "Watch The Phonies" takes a more direct aim at the dance floor, staccato clacking, threatening voices and saw basses hanging firmly to a 4/4 framework that only lets up to give space for it's anti-euphoric pads to speak through. The final addition to the EP is "Bact", a track which eerily feels alive, as insect-like chirps and click move around the listener, thudding kick drums acting as a heartbeat amidst a horror movie soundscape.
'Soft Absolve' also features some familiar Drama Hands names on remix duties. Boogie Howser completely flips Popped In on it's head, taming it with his signature lush dreamy 2step sound. Spurz's "Teardown mix" of Watch The Phonies adds 90's tribal house sensibilities, readying it for a warehouse space, while picoVolt reworks Bact's jutting angles into a breathy techno roller, while staying true to the original's organic message.
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