Hormone Lemonade’s opener ‘Malfunction’ at 16 minutes plus, with its long synth intro and driving Krautrock rhythm that builds into a number of long repetitions is quite the introduction. The track is further enhanced by real-time plinks and plonks that add a childlike texture to an already almost mathematical song structure, and which become something of a theme throughout this record. We’ll all know full albums that are less ambitious. And rather like milk boiling over in the pan it’s hypnotic and absorbing, possibly even beautiful.
The band’s third album on their own Duophonic label, was initially built around three one hour tape recordings made on home-made drum machines with fluctuating BPMs. Tim Gane (ex-Stereolab and main brains behind the Cavern Of Anti-Matter project) then painstakingly pieced together these proto-jams into useable chunks and samples overdubbing each part with basic musical ideas. More and more was added to each fledgling track over the following months using technical know-how and tricky old-school recording techniques to create the finished record. This modular recording process and seemingly haphazard approach to production adopted by the band is partly what makes Cavern Of Anti-Matter so compelling and also why they sound so unlike anybody else.
So, science aside what we have is ten tracks of loops and spliced together rhythms leaping stylistically and often seamlessly from Krautrock, disco and jazz influences to simple guitar progressions, funky basslines and Morricone style sweeps. Joe Dilworth’s percussion (to call it such is to immediately devalue his playing) is metronomic but relaxed throughout and while this may all sound a bit going-round-the-houses, in an age where beats, FX and synth are readily available to all online, it adds a rare realness and biotic authenticity to Hormone Lemonade. The layers of modulation on ‘Make Out Fade Out’, and basically bending everything through a sequencer so it sounds like it’s being sucked into a black hole on ‘Phantom Melodies’, is an often fascinating attention to detail.
Again the DIY titbits and chirps are never far away on ‘Solarised Sound’ and ‘Outerzone Jazs’, whose dark and moody cranked up beat is the most obvious remix opportunity. However, with so much material, influences and styles so intricately matched and executed it’s almost a shame that throwaway tracks like ‘Automatic Morning’ (a heady mix of cut-and-paste jazz guitars, live percussion and repetitive electronica that fades in and out like a medley of snippets they didn’t know what else to do with) and ‘Motion Flow’ (cf. Public Service Broadcasting) made the cut.
But it’s towards the end of Hormone Lemonade that Cavern of Anti-Matter find their natural pace. ‘Feed Me Magnetic Rain’ is industrial electronica at its best as if shards of light and dark are cutting through the underlying ambience like smashing a mirror into a million pieces; while on ‘Remote Confection’ the security of some lilting acoustic guitar soon dissipates into disjointed, twisting synths and pulses, and is the band at their most droney, utterly bewildering and brilliant.
Hormone Lemonade is out on 23rd March through Duophonic.