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Sheer Zed - Do Not Submit to the Control Claw

Sheer Zed is a prolific sound artist and musician. In late 2017 he travelled to Thailand spending time with practitioners of the Thai Buddhist Lanna discipline. The rituals and initiations he experienced resulted in a transformation that informed the electronic ambient drone work The Life and Times of a Spiritual Gangster while trips to Bangkok and Chiang Mai formed the audio collage and soundscape recordings of Lost in Exotic Pastures. Cosmic Meditation an earlier release was inspired by meditation rituals and dream works.

Do Not Submit to the Control Claw is his latest release, with a title which seems to reference a Burroughsian theme of control. It is an album of vigorous and varied sound patterns and rhythms, something which Sheer Zed has called "multi-faceted audio sculptures that delve deep into twilight worlds, avant mutant dubscapes and incandescent vistas of subconscious shamanic otherness". The hand drawn images that illustrate this and most other Sheer Zed releases may be stark but Do Not Submit to the Control Claw bustles to intricate, invigorating rhythms, analogue electronic sequences and surreal techno. It's fair to say that it is a busy recording, even many of the atmospheric moments are filled with rhythm and disquiet. Sheer Zed is an artist and shaman and his work draws on rituals, dreams and meditations.

Do Not Submit to the Control Claw opens to a series of absorbing synths chords of the title track. From underneath a drone rises and gently falls away before it moves into pulsing hollow electronic sequences propelled by clipped driving dance rhythms as electronics jabber and glisten, fall away and rebuild, and fall away again into the comfort of the absorbing synths chords. His sound experiments are often informed by techno cadences as much as they reveal the influence of experimental and industrial music on his sound design. 'Spirit Sensei's Guiding Light' glides to beat driven analogue sequences, its low bass tones leading into passages of droning disquiet offset by an array of inventive rhythms, overlaid with airy featherlight melodies ending on loose bass tones.

'Magick Square Defense' is less direct and burrows much deeper with abstract patterns of discombobulating rhythmic disarray. They're performed electronically but appear as a combination of hand and electronic percussion behind the electro sequences. Stabs of quaking shudders and light electro pulses give way to hyper-quickened rhythmic clicks almost invoking a sense of panic before chiming synths and rhythmic chatter propel it forward. And then from underneath a synth drone breaks it back down, before it sinks into drone and effects. From ease to unease, Sheer Zed tracks constantly mutate and reform into new shapes.

The intricate layered electronics and rhythms ensure 'Do Not Submit to the Control Claw' is certainly a busy record but you can almost catch your breath on 'The Hypnogogic Encryption of Star Systems' as dubstep rhythms are cast against an ululating drone. Processed breathy exhalations gently fill the air along with the intermittent jangle of metal percussion. The languorous atmosphere resonating with a sense of spiritual calm only broken by a sporadic rush of beats.

Do Not Submit to the Control Claw is particularly poignant and of interest to us as compulsiononline as it features a track dedicated to the late David Lawes best known as DIL23 and known to his friends as DIL. A constant fixture at shows by Chris and Cosey and the reformed TG. Most times you'd spot him side stage camera in hand filming shows by Ela Orleans, Demdike Stare, Security and countless others. His website showcased the electronic and the industrial. Just before his death his spoken voice appeared on Ela Orleans' festive single 'Christmas Fell Away'. He was, as I belatedly discovered, also a musician and member of a late eighties Edinburgh based industrial electronic outfit Deus Ex Machina which of course relates to the title for this one. Rendered in dense abstract treatments of drone shimmer filled with industrial clamour 'Deus Ex Machina (For DIL23)' is a tribute I'm sure he'd approve.

Even less fussy is 'Slowly Drifting Into Geometric Space' which strains to cavernous reverb dwelling in shadowy atmospheres approaching a sound more akin to the dark ambient of Lustmord. However this one with its slow shifting layers reveals itself it to be of a more meditative nature. The final piece moves from skittery chiming synths punctuated by crunchy stabs, where melodic keys coalesce and combine with a melange of scratchy noise textures and a processed wash of backward/ forward spinning sound deftly slipping between channels and infused with stabs and melody chimes.

Like Ly Tumnus and Hawksmoor who we've previously featured, Sheer Zed is another name from the electronic underground that demands more attention. Do Not Submit to the Control Claw is an absorbing and intricate listen. Chris Carter's Chemistry Lessons Volume One and Hiro Kone's Love Is The Capital were on my turntable at the point I was listening to this and Do Not Submit to the Control Claw a download only release certainly compares favourably with both of those releases. There's lots more Sheer Zed material to discover via the Sheer Zed site; I'll be seeking out his previous releases you should too. For more information go to Sheer Zed