Title: Wet Will Always Dry
Cat No: TESC005
Release date: 18th June 2018
The sonic career of Jamie Roberts aka Blawan has been powered by a masterful knowledge of contrasts in mood and tone color, along with an ability to zero in on the most impactful moments of a mix and magnify them to larger-than-life proportions. These tendencies have placed him squarely within the nerve center of everything to do with techno culture: he has been one of the more notable artists to re-discover modular synthesis as a means for mining avant-garde rhythmic sounds, joining forces with Arthur Cayzer (a.k.a. Pariah) for the notoriously rough-edged, red-lining Karenn duo, also scoring collaborations with Surgeon and letting his excess energies spill over into equally intriguing aliases like Kilner and Bored Young Adults. His releasing history includes output on Hessle Audio, R&S, Hinge Finger, Black Sun, and Clone’s Basement Series, along with releases on Avian and Trilogy Tapes under his other aliases. Meanwhile, his personal Ternesc imprint is on the rise as well. All this confirms his versatility and workaholic concentration upon diversifying his means of personal expression, refusing to simply repeat tried-and-true formulae.
By his own admission, last year’s eclectic Nutrition EP for Ternesc represented a significant breakthrough in this area, and provided the “green light” for a more ambitious and colorful full LP set on Ternesc, Wet Will Always Dry. This new tour-de-force lays everything out on the table and showcases all of the different motifs that have so far earned Blawan his reputation, while also introducing completely new elements. Such exercises can definitely be a gamble, but rest assured that both new fans and old will find this one to be an immersive narrative rather than a mere “demo reel” whose only “message” is the skill level of its creator: the many distinct parts of Wet… range from ecstatic to hair-raising, and lock together like the different districts in a well-functioning, constantly buzzing metropolis.
Physically and mentally draining in the best way possible, Wet Will Always Dry is maybe the most complete statement from Blawan to date, and as such should be ignored at your peril. This becomes evident from the album-opening “Klade,” a dizzying, tumbling flight of pure energy over overlapping fields of electrified menace. This sets the stage for “Careless,” which retains the hazardous, crackling atmosphere but dials back the intensity just enough to make room for a new feature, Blawan’s eerie and disembodied vocals.
“Tasser” ratchets up the tempo and the frenetic energy yet more, slinging chunks of audio shrapnel and grinding factory noise over the kick-heavy beat, only letting up the tension every now and then for a convulsive breakdown. By the arrival of “Vented,” a more steady, cycling groove has set in along with the accompaniment of suspenseful melodic swells, but the element of surprise is far from gone: there still seem to be spectral entities lurking around every corner, and there’s no shortage of intriguing tumbril weirdness blowing around the imaginary streets that this track conjures up.
The slamming “North” keeps alive the record’s persistent, darkly humorous feeling that things are about to go off the rails at any moment, using wildly contorted sequences and granular debris to shift between total abandon and regimented strictness. A moment of relative calmness, along with the return of the atmospheric vocals, comes about with “Stell,” a faintly dubby track that leaves an impression like watching streams of traffic progress underneath rolling, deep grey clouds.
“Kalosi” brings back the percussive motif of “Tasser” and “North,” this time partnering it with loops that bring to mind radioactive bass strings. “Nims” then shuts things down with infectious harp-like sequences, fuzz- shrouded percussion and an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ mentality towards filtering and processes which will get the attention of all but the most jaded soundhead.
A1 / 1. Klade
A2 / 2. Careless
B1 / 3. Tasser
B2 / 4. Vented
C1 / 5. North
C2 / 6. Stell
D1 / 7. Kalosi
D2 / 8. Nims