I have been known –at least to myself– to be somewhat obsessed with time and its issues, and thus it will be of little surprise to the gentle reader of this revue to find another perspective of this somewhat essential theme displayed in the lines below. Having experienced the difficulties of the matter first hand in the last few days (mistaking the first rays of spring’s sun for Autumn’s heat and –like so many others– subsequently contracting a cold), it is an affair of the heart undoubtedly, and just in case you know all about it already I beg your forgiveness. However, the thought I’ve endlessly pondered since being washed ashore of Flex’s sound waves and ending up in front of some monstrous cathedral some weeks back, was the question how this marvellous house of god after almost 300 years of standing there could still evoke such a profound impression of awe and wonder, whilst even our modern day glass-and-steel temples to an even more powerful goddess commonly fail to stir more than a brief colossal sensation and usually crumble to dust and costly renovation at least twice within a lifetime. Well, the answer is quite obvious: it is indeed the time that is invested into an undertaking that decides whether it renders its spectators speechless with incredulity and awe, or indignation; and obviously a quarter century of painstakingly carving marble gets one closer to eternity than playing lego on a grand scale.
I know, this seems to have little to do with drum & bass so far. But I’d like to keep that thought in mind as we progress to Mefjus and Emperor’s new collaborative Hello World EP issued these days on Critical, for in almost all respects it momentarily stands taller and brighter than anything else in the field of our beloved music – and yet I fear its contribution to eternity might be slim. (Of course, eternity is always a bit far-fetched, and not everything must strive after that towering goal.) Starting with the non-musical side to this release, it appears relatively safe to assume that the amount of time that went into the artwork was little – not only measured against the estimated amount necessary to erect, say, a chapel, but compared to for instance the time an average person spends on the loo each morning. The idea is kind of funny, yes, but I reckon a tweet would have carried its essence better than a break with the usually sublime series of Critical artworks. Admittedly, it’s hardly the artwork that constitutes the longevity of a release, but somehow I feel that tunes closer to eternity (like Exodus for example) are best framed with a graphic expression that does not suggest indifference.
On the musical side, everything is as mentioned initially just as massive as you can get at the moment. Opening with a virtually perfect display of the possibilities of a collaboration so illustrious and promising as this, the gigantic re-doing of Mythos entitled Disrupted shows all the qualities -and faults- of this quick meeting of titans: a pleasantly unbearable thickness in the lower regions combined with the irresistible groove of pounding drums and an overall haunting vibe joyfully constitute this sonic madness, and yet one can’t help thinking that two of the finest producers to date were just feeding their naturally first-quality samples into that formula which is so hard and well at work for years now. The same –if on an individual scale– holds true for the two remixes on the EP that sees Emperor turning Signalz into a classic Emperor tune and Mefjus making Precursor sound like many another typical Mefjus piece. Given the quality of the originals (and especially Signalz), this endeavour is perhaps not entirely necessary; yet I can’t imagine anyone skipping them due to a lack of entertainment. The undisputed centrepiece of Hello World however is Void Main Void, not only the EP’s only tune to aspire towards a proper intro, overall story and cooking recipe, but whose sounds made even the world-weary writer of these lines prick up his ears and quickly remark a stupefied and joyous ‘Whoa!’.
So, coming back to the initial theme, this prime example of why we hold the two producers in such high esteem makes me wonder what could have happened if more time was allowed for the whole project, and -more generally- neither the world’s speedily ticking clocks nor capitalism’s relentless grip were to dictate the eventual outcome of art and nothing but the muse’s call would sound with music borne of love. But then again, that’s what I seem to do all day long anyway. So, in short: get this release, despite what I might have said it’s the best there is at the moment.
Mefjus & Emperor – Hello World EP (Critical Music)