Release Date: Jan 22, 2016
Record label: Tri Angle
Genre(s): Electronic, Avant-Garde, Experimental Electronic, Modern Composition
Head here to submit your own review of this album. When pioneering dubstep duo Vex'd spit in the mid '00s, Roly Porter turned his attention to his solo career. Wanting to break free from genre constraints, he abandoned beat oriented music altogether, and instead, began creating dark and often dramatic instrumentals that drew from post-classical influences, resembling at times pieces that could have easily fit on a sci-fi film score.
When Vex'd broke up and each member went solo, it became clear who was responsible for their aggressive edge. In the time since those heady dubstep days, Roly Porter has reinvented himself as an experimentalist indebted to modern classical. His work so far has ranged from live improvisation to dark ambient with a Max Richter-like melodicism, all of it delivered with sci-fi flair.
Since the dissolution of pioneering dubstep duo Vex'd during the second half of the 2000s, Roly Porter has moved far away from club-oriented electronic music, constructing dense, harrowing soundscapes indebted to 20th century composers such as Giacinto Scelsi and György Ligeti. Third Law, his third studio album, is another stunning, occasionally overwhelming mass of sound utilizing choral voices, strings, and vintage synthesizers in addition to pulverizing percussive bursts. Porter uses rhythm sparingly, and when he does, he fashions it into a weapon, attacking at the most tension-filled moments.
Roly Porter enjoys the silence. The London-based producer’s favorite parts of unleashing the sub-bass as one half of U.K. dubstep duo Vex’d (alongside musical partner Jamie Teasdale) were actually the rolling blackouts of sound before their shuddering drops practically bruised bodies. Their two full-lengths, 2005’s Degenerate and 2010’s Cloud Seed, effectively bookended the genre’s peak before the mainstream started associating dubstep with Skrillex, and the two collaborators parted ways.
Roly Porter is perhaps best known for helping to spearhead the maturation of dubstep alongside Jamie Teasdale (a.k.a. Kuedo) as Vex’d. Third Law, his third long-player and his Tri Angle debut, sees him revisit his dubstep and jungle roots. On previous releases, his solo project has had a sense of contention with his previous genre excursions and club impulses.
In late 2013, Roly Porter released Life Cycle of a Massive Star, a mammoth LP of deep, celestial movement. The former Vex'd member was ambling away from his dubstep roots and toward a form of near-beatless electronic ooze. Just over two years later, Porter has returned with his third solo LP and Tri Angle debut, the dramatic Third Law.Just as deep and cosmic in scope as its predecessor, this album eschews traditional beats in favour of a primordial throb, a rhythm that seems to originate deep within the planet's core.
Roly Porter was one half of Vex'd, the forceful 'golden era' dubstep duo, and his third solo album lands on Tri Angle, home to a certain type of darkened electronic music. This will tell you a lot of what you need to know about 'Third Law', a fucked-up face- melter of an LP that should be played at volume no lower than that of a 10-tonne, towering soundsystem.Fans of Haxan Cloak's loud/quiet drama and Rabit's fearless extremes will want to crack open yet another great Tri Angle long player, which is intense at times ('Mass') and brooding at others ('High Places'). .
Outer space is simultaneously fascinating and terrifying. It’s an endless expanse about which we know infinitesimal amounts, and the little we do know begets exponentially more questions than it answers. As such, it’s depressing that we’re aware that, as a vacuum, outer space is not conducive to sound. Yet despite this fact, its infinite unknowns have served as inspiration for some of electronic music’s bleakest soundscapes.
Roly Porter used to be a member of Vex'd, a duo known for its abrasive, industrial approach to dubstep. While it's been a number of years since Porter abandoned not only the dancefloor but beats altogether, his music remains loud and visceral, full of seismic sub-bass and metallic shudders and black-hole reverb that swallows up everything around it. It's also head music, with stark post-classical elements—a somber scrap of strings, a mangled choir—hinting at a narrative lurking beneath the abstraction.
In the past, there were strands of electronic music that invoked distinct images of the future. No matter where this music was produced, links to cinematic experiences of a similar theme were often responsible for aesthetic choices, which helped fuel the public imagination as to what might be expected in years to come. In music, these visions were often influenced by the electronic beat — a power-driven thump that mirrored the workings of a machine, of production, of progress.
It's an easy and inaccurate shortcut to assume that Roly Porter has "come a long way" since the split of his seminal dubstep duo Vex'd in the late 2000s. That's not intended as a slight on Porter, but rather to remind folks that Vex'd were always more than a dubstep act. As early as 2005's Degenerate album, Vex'd (the other half of which was Kuedo, aka Jamie Teasdale) took the sub-bass and skittish beats of dubstep and pitched them out of the UK's urban sprawl and into a dystopian future cityscape that mirrored reality even as it upped its chill factor several hundred times.