The intense 2MR debut of None of the Above (AKA N/O/T/A) is yet another mind-blowing new 12-inch release from the dance label started late last year by Captured Tracks head Mike Sniper and Mike Simonetti, formerly of Italians Do It Better, New Jersey Records, and Troubleman Unlimited.
N/O/T/A is made up of Dinamo Azari (AZARI & III) and Mixhell’s Laima Leyton and Iggor Cavalera, who is also the co-founder of classic Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura.
Over the course of the album’s three cuts, the trio combine a powerful array of acid house, techno, doses of EBM, and live tribal drums — the latter probably courtesy of Cavalera, who was an outstanding drummer for Sepultura — to bring about a raw and immediate collection of important, industrial-tinged songs.
The release is laced with detached synthesizers that haunt your headspace with every circuit they make around the mix. This shit is dark, even intimidating, but it’s also interested in vacuuming out the wallflowers, leaving only the most poignant actors. The result is that the drums slam and thrash their way to keep the bodies moving in time, even as the carnage is imminent.
The two versions of “Return of Prometheus” on the A-side offer the listener different perspectives on that theme.
“Prometheus (Neu Beat)” opens the 12-inch with a thumpy onslaught of those live drums. It’s like a massive drum corps solo you might expect to find kicking off a metal show, if they ever did such a thing. The cut, bolstered by that intensity, soon showcases some primal synthesizer-bass arpeggiation, sampled voices, and a creaking, atmospheric synth melody that takes on the ethereal quality of specters.
“Neu Beat” rages on until the rhythm gives way to the dungeon Italo awaiting us on song two, the original version of “Prometheus.” On this cut, the arps abound, as do the specters, but the backbeat is a driving techno pattern. While it’s a bit tempered compared to its counterpart, this version has its share of animalistic kinesis.
Finally, on “Windowpane,” we get a chaotic, dissonant synth opening with a man’s voice saying “blood for blood” in Spanish. This number is drenched in a fuzzy, abrasive acid house. The drums pound their way through more specters, as the squelching TB-303 bass wiggles its way over the beat.
So far, the non-Simonetti releases on 2MR have been a kind of dark, gritty fare that are as challenging and engaging as Helena Hauff and as fun and experimental as you’d want out of a scrappy label like 2MR. N/O/T/A is no exception.
You can buy vinyl or digital copies over at 2MR’s website. I imagine the wax will eventually show up in select physical stores, too.