Fisk Industries: EPs and Rarities

We've been fans of Londoner Mat Ranson's Fisk Industries project since Highpoint Lowlife introduced us to The Isle of Wight EP a number of years ago, so we're equally delighted to see Mush Records help spread the Fisk Industries gospel with this generously packed (100+ minutes), double-disc collection. The first pairs the aforesaid EP with its 10-inch follow-up, 2006's 77 and Rising, while disc two compiles five unreleased pieces with nine others primarily resurrected from the digital EPs 8 Bit, Time is But a Memory, Todo por la Patria, and From the Ice Depositates.

First issued in 2003, The Isle Of Wight EP still sounds fresh, no track more so than “We Saw Orion” which dramatically marries hip-hop rhythms with a looped sample of Sufi ululations. Funk and hip-hop also underscore “The Isle of Wight” though its most memorable element is its marauding bass synth figure; the whirring funk pulse that insistently drives “Poltype” deserves mention too. Voice samples, field elements (footsteps, waves crashing), and a generally aggressive attack permeate the EP's six tracks and make a strong argument in favour of Ranson's talent. The huge kick drum powering “Reflection” symbolizes 77 and Rising's even deeper embrace of hip-hop rhythms, a move borne out by the infectious, bass-heavy funk groove Ranson stokes in the vocodered “Liquid Silver Moments.” Spindly electro throb strokes the dark dub sheen of “Close” while the clattering closer “Polska” pushes the head-nodding vibe even further.

The second disc's understandably a little less cohesive but there's little noticeable difference in quality between the two halves. As before, Ranson once again slathers his intricately arranged pieces with bright analog synths, snarling bass lines, and crunchy beat programming, and, as before, balances harder-edged settings (the seemingly Jaws-inspired “Quint Kills Sharks”) with an occasional gentler foray (“The Way We Found Each Other,” “Todo Por La Patria,” “The Azimuth at Zero Degrees”); he even channels Boards of Canada for the hazy synth atmospheres of “Earth Algorithm.” “Axelrod Europa,” “Largo Winch,” and “Ekta” offer further convincing evidence of Ranson's skill at fusing electronic gleam with hip-hop.

June 2007