It’s said you can connect any person in the world to another by no more than six other people. Luckily for him, London-based producer and DJ Perc is no less than one degree of separation from his idol and primary influence, legendary ear-shredding Teutonic miscreant Blixa Bargeld.
Late last year, around the time when the first Coca Cola Christmas commercials started rearing their ugly heads, Perc released something called Interpretations through his self-operated Perctrax record label. Interpretations is a brilliant and unusual ‘collaboration’ between Perc and industrial deities Einstürzende Neubauten, where Perc reworked the dub versions of four tracks from Kollaps , the work that is indubitably Neubauten’s finest hour, and the benchmark for every industrial release issued in its wake.
Factory Floor are another band Perc has ties to: he remixed the standout track (Two Different Ways) from their incredible debut on DFA. His willingness to collaborate with, pay deference to and re-imagine the work of the finest purveyors of electronic and industrial music is a sign that his work has enormous crossover potential.
Luckily, The Power And The Glory fits nicely between these two bands – the raw, shrapnel-flecked industrial workouts are tempered by an expansive, accessible quality missing from his last LP, all the while keeping an eye on innovation and originality – to avoid, one presumes, the plagiaristic tendencies of most people calling themselves ‘producers’ in 2014.
Rotting Sound kicks off the collection in style – a white noise soundscape is occasionally ripped apart by processed Bargeld-esque screams from Dan Chandler of Deathscalator. Even hardcore Neubauten fans might confuse it for a long-lost experiment by Blixa and co.
Nik Void, of Factory Floor and Carter Tutti Void, appears on the second track Speek. Speek is built around a buzzing beat which grows and grows until it envelopes Void’s ghostly vocals, and a cloud of harsh electronic noise drives the track towards its end. Void’s contribution here serves to highlight the progression made between the earlier, harsher Factory Floor records and the more refined sounds of last year’s studio album.
Lurch is glitchy, malfunctioning techno with beeps and clicks and eerie laughter/applause samples that are as disorienting as they are welcome. The beat on this track is an off-kilter, head-nodding effort that, stripped of its severe feel, would make a great sample for a commercial pop track. Cabaret Voltaire gravitated towards more accessible sounds as they matured; one can only guess if this track is a signifier for Perc doing the same, given he’s been in the game for over a decade now.
Following tune Galloper is where Perc fully enters arms-in-the-air mode, albeit for seconds at a time. This track seems for all intents and purposes to be a palimpsestic overview of his genre – sounds drop in and out of focus, shards of samples appear then disappear, all the while the beat churns and pops underneath. Other highlights include Bleeding Colours and Take Your Body Off – the former a hardcore techno track that uses atonality and grinding repetition to lull listeners into a sense of comfort before unleashing a titanic beat coated in distortion, while the latter is an evil twin of Nine Inch Nails’ Survivalism, only with Dan Chandler’s faultless Blixa impression for vocals.
Records like this don’t really crop up every day – an underground hero making authentic, no-frills industrial beat-scapes that live up to his reputation as a pioneer of the sound. By any reasonable reckoning, fans of the darker side of ‘industrial’ music are being spoiled lately; Xiu Xiu’s latest tour-de-force was released only last week, and here we have Perc dipping into the past to forge the future. Not bad, not bad indeed.