Next up on NoCorner, we welcome back long time extended family member: one half of Giant Swan, one half of SRS with Sunun, and sonic provocateur as part of the multi-headed Avon Terror Corps contingent: Robin Stewart.
A musician and artist that has a long running connection with the label, RS is a dear friend who has applied many an hour of DIY sticking, stamping, assembling here at our Bristol HQ: perhaps little known to most, his visual art was a catalyst for our first connection going back to 2012, in the very early days of this label, when he contributed with artwork to our third ever cassette release, El Kid’s ‘Labyrinth’.
Later on, in 2018, he delivered his first solo release via our label – the masterful 23min drone exercise of ‘And Then’ and title track ‘Ominous Bath’. Two pieces of music we still come back to on a regular basis.
Now, two years later, and fresh on the heels of his excellent 12″ for The Trilogy Tapes, he’s back on NC perfectly soundtracking a shapeshifting, dare we say ‘sinking’ world, with his next solo offering: ‘Marsupial’ –
6 new cuts straight from the soundsystem minded, sonic swamp of Robin Stewart, sitting patiently at the soundboy’s death bed, kissing him to sleep.
Opening up with ‘Pastel’, the low-frequency word-sound dance with Anglo-Afro-Latina poet Daniel Dyson, the meter is set with the pressure up to ten on the dial right from the start.
Once we’ve entered the zone, it’s a depth charge straight into title track ‘Marsupial’, which is guided by extra mixing desk dub engineering via Sunun, and conjures the ghosts of 00’s Bristol music, whilst injecting a kind of Chris & Cosey esque Trance. But don’t get it twisted, Robin Stewart has a style of his own and this can be heard throughout all his work, whether solo, or in collaboration – His sound presents a world of wigged out ghost notes and slap-in-your-face tones & drones that dance together in skeletal, heavyweight style –
Throughout this record, the focus is centred around bassweight and third-eye opening glimmers of frequency that light up even the most pitch black moments, such as the paranoid vocal pitch shift of ‘Survival Guide’ – the most ‘techno’ of all, whilst sounding subversive enough to stand in it’s own corner with a grim smile.
These murky, forward-leaning vibrations are echo’d in ’Penny’ with it’s endless tunnel of dancehall reverberations… Another fine example of the constant rhythmic and melodic counter-balance to the vertigo of drum, and bass, which RS controls with a deadly sleight of hand.
The final cut, where it all falls apart in a ghostly orchestra of weightless, dizzying tones, draws the curtain on this display of soundsystem exercise, making it clear that these deft, omni-directional six tracks are here to invite us to the negative space between the crack of the drum and the gut-punch of the bassline. A chest-rattling, limb-by-limb vibration that rattles its way up your body from down below, all the way up to your dome, to converse directly with your synapses.
Welcome to Robin Stewart’s modulated and hacked hall of dub mirrors…
And good luck finding your way out.
Comes with DL code.
200 copies, mastered & cut by Lewis at Stardelta.
Served with screenprint sleeve, and sticker in antistatic bag, designed by Studio Tape-Echo.