Shane Broderick's (Corephallism, Twodeadsluts Onegoodfuck) latest project in some ways strays away from the ethos of his other projects, but not so far as to be unrecognizable. Namely, Soaplands showcases more of his interest in modular synthesis and electronics. This self-titled EP has a nuanced and dynamic sound, but one in which he cannot help but burst out into some of his more noisy tendencies, resulting in an all-too-short burst of electronics, distortion, and even a fair bit of good old fashion screaming.
Across these four songs Broderick does a bit of everything from his distinctive style of electronic music.The pulsating synthesizer that opens "The Birds Above Methadone Mile" is almost disturbingly pleasant, at times drifting precariously close to new age, but overall stays more on the nice ambient side of the equation.That, of course, does not last and a jarring noise outburst pops up rather quickly, then transitioning the piece to end on field recordings. Things are intentionally stripped back a bit on the sub-two minute "Serotonin Jacuzzi Lust" and instead of lush electronics it is just a short, noisy outburst of aggression grounded by droning electronics.
For "Techniques of Religious Ecstasy," Broderick again navigates between sonic extremes.The opening heartbeat-like pulse and processed samples are pleasant enough, but the droning, menacing tone that he includes rather quickly darkens things up nicely, but the vocal outburst blows it all away.Within that short span things transition from standard electronics to bleak drone and into full on power electronics assault.The concluding "Godmode:Potential Immortality-Pure Pleasure" clocks in at eight minutes making it roughly the duration of the three preceding pieces combined. Broderick maintains more restraint here and instead of going as heavy on the noise hebuilds the electronics up.The opening lush electronics and drone set the groundwork for some very 1980s sounding synth stabs to cut through, with subtle layers of electronics placed together, building in intensity.Eventually stuttering electronics and some thick, heavy washes of noise pile on, but the overall feeling is less harsh in the grand scheme of things.
Besides the diverse array of sound Shane Broderick brings to this debut Soaplands EP, his use of dynamics on the recording itself are also worthy of note.The quiet moments are appropriately hushed, but the harsh outbursts are jarring and abrasive, which is exactly what I want to hear on a tape such as this.The only major issue is the short duration, but this tape heralds more great things to come I would imagine.Also props for the artwork by manga artist Shintaro Kago, whose sexualized, surrealist imagery is a perfect complement to the sound and aesthetic that Broderick is cultivating on this cassette.