With the discharge of their 2018 debut Human Nature Structure, Backspace had a transparent and defiant message for contemporary society. Deeply rooted in solipsism, existential techno-dread, and a honest frustration with humanity’s growing dissociative tendencies, the Beijing-based quartet authored a sonic manifesto match for the Black Mirror technology. Now, on their follow-up Ants Corrupt Elephant – launched final Wednesday, Mar 24 through Possibly Mars Data – the band is doubling-down on their disdain for the blind pursuit of “progress,” whereas making house for the feelings waylaid by our self-induced alienation.
In keeping with guitarist and vocalist Zheng Dong, the 2 albums are inextricably linked, each thematically and musically. If Human Nature Structure was preoccupied with expertise and vapid innovation, Ants Corrupt Elephant is a meditation on the pure world mirrored in humanity. “The content material conveyed [in Ants Corrupt Elephant] is certainly based mostly on the growth of the primary album,” says Zheng. “Within the early phases of making the brand new album, we made a conceptual framework and named the songs after animals. [However], what’s written continues to be [about] issues that occur in our social environments.”
Likewise, beneath the tutelage of producer Li Ping – a member of veteran experimental art-rock group Duck Trick – the band was capable of reimagine their surf rock-cum-post punk roots in a big approach, making intelligent use of strings, woodwinds, choral preparations, and a hell of much more percussion. The result’s deep, groovy paths that reduce via lush instrumental overgrowth and an aural exploration that’s not for the faint of coronary heart – a manifestation of nature’s delicate steadiness and all the chaos contained inside.
Whereas Human Nature Structure was a lurid highway journey alongside the streets of a crumbling metropolis, Ants Corrupt Elephant is without delay a tense and blissed-out joyride via the humid depths of a cosmic jungle, vacation spot unknown. The primary single, “Elephant Treasure” sees the band persevering with to jam on the altar of house rock stalwarts like Neu!, nonetheless, such inspirations appear to be the exception this time round, and never the rule.
On album opener, “The Flamingo Bridge,” drummer Maoter and bassist Guagua are now not content material to easily propel the music ahead in kinetic bursts of krautrock minimalism. As a substitute, they go for a disorienting panorama of mischievous, unrelenting polyrhythmic fervor and percussive blooms. It’s fertile floor for guitarists Zheng and A’hui who navigate the dense surroundings with aplomb, two intrepid dreamers feasting on foliage of doubtful origins, getting back from the brink with hazy eyes and a head filled with visions. In the meantime, the file’s penultimate nearer, “Skunk Guidelines” is a scorching psychedelic freakout, letting up for a quick second earlier than plunging headfirst again into an unrelenting delirium.
Ants Corrupt Elephant is as a lot experimentation as it’s plumbing the depths of acquainted territory, a determined seek for an oasis within the furthest reaches of our collective psychoses, solely to be dragged, kicking and screaming, again into the doldrums of modernity. If ever a band picked up the place they left off, decided to push previous the bleeding fringe of their very own sound, that is it. Human Nature Structure’s liner notes closed by saying it “isn’t a lot a cry for assist as it’s a rallying cry into the abyss that’s our thoughts,” and in no unsure phrases, Ants Corrupt Elephant is a poignant letter penned from deep inside that abyss.
Photographs courtesy of Backspace and Possibly Mars