Auto/Sexual – Ultra (MP3,17 Sons Records)
Auto/Sexual is another 17 Sons Records label artist that I can’t find much information about. This project has a few different releases out on the 17 Sons label, mostly Internet-download and MP3 formats of shorter style EPs. Ultra has five songs of decaying dubstep and rhythmic noise, often redacted and studded with manipulations of beats and sounds. The main focus seems to be the use of patters in the background, drum beats that have been fashioned out of different textures of sound and electronic noise.
Your enjoyment of Ultra, and quite possibly the whole Auto/Sexual project, will depend on how susceptible you are to electronica beats and rhythmic, noise-influenced rave glitch jams. There are moments of blown-out noise sound, like in the opening of the short “Disengagement is Betrayal”, and each of the songs uses electronic noises as music for beats, but for the most part Auto/Sexual is more interested in crafting jumpy, bass-heavy jams out of potentially destructive sounds rather than vice versa.
But the ideas that Ultra extols are nicely nuanced, alternating from loud extremes to pared down beats that click and clamor in the background until slowly evolving into more danceable songs. Each track often features a Venetian Snares-like breakcore drum background, but while it’s intriguing for a little while, the notion tends to wear thin once the tracks have reached their repetitive hook – for instance, “Obey or Die”, which loops through the same drum riffs over and over again.
The project is much more successful when it’s recycling more apparent electronic noise along with the drum beats, like on “Wolves or Bees” or the more minimal “Main Target”. That pairing works nicely, especially the low bass notes with the staccato click of static or glitchy samples. It’s the moments where the main focus of the track is the electro-drumming that Ultra falters, tending to mistake repetitive beats as hypnotic sound.