You’d be forgiven for heading into End Christian’s Bach Part One and expecting a metal album. Several members, in fact, have previously been the creators of critically acclaimed metal records, so it’s surprising to hear an intricately designed avant-garde trip-hop work upon first listen, in a brave but ultimately brilliant departure from each member’s initial sound.
Combining members of Hex Inverter, Brutal Truth and Fad Nauseum to name a few, numerous influences come pouring in to construct the towering, looming shadow that is Bach Part One. Nods to the world of metal are present but subtle, and so it is Christian McKenna’s time in Hex Inverter that is more amplified and vibrant than the remaining influences here; with that same intensely gloomy but refreshingly delicate sound showing itself in almost every track. End Christian’s line-up is completed with Alap Mom, Richard Hoak, Vincent Rosa and Gillian Dreadful.
One of the greatest things about this record upon first listen, however, is the seemingly huge influence (whether intentional or not) it appears to take from so many other fantastic albums. There are elements of Kid A-era Radiohead here and there, a hint of Björk’s Homogenic, Portishead’s Dummy – in places, this record is perhaps not too dissimilar even to Aphex Twin’s …I Care Because You Do. Fans of music from the last few years will also love the ambient, avant-garde features on this record. If you’re into the likes of Arca, Forest Swords and Oneohtrix Point Never, this one’s for you.
Left-field, but still very much accessible, there’s very little to fault with this record. End Christian have managed to find a perfectly happy medium between abstract instrumentals and melodic vocals, which is demonstrated perfectly on almost every track here. It excellently mixes ominous, heavy beats (most prominent in album closer Altered for Concern) with intelligently edited vocals and sampling (best exhibited towards the end of Venison Thaw) throughout, which makes for a refreshing listen bursting with originality.
Bach Part One is an almost immaculate example of an artist departing from their original sound for the better, delivering a record that could almost act as a sequel to their first (2017’s Energy & Strength); it’s much more diverse, much more interesting, and even much more thought-out. It tends to follow two separate trends from the get go: eerie calm and chaotic noise. The record’s first two tracks, Hamilton Two and Anywhere W/ You seem to lull the listener into a false sense of security before the rest of the album begins to explore the harsh beats and at times even intimidating ‘wall of noise’ themes of its later half. That’s not to say the casual music listener won’t enjoy this album, however. The vocals are edited in such a way that they simultaneously sound fun and innovative for somebody who has no idea about left-field music, and yet remain interesting enough to become the centerpiece of the taste of somebody who’s been listening to left-field music all their life.
To sum up, End Christian have, in a relatively short space of time, departed from their initial sound in such a way that you can still recognise who it is you’re listening to, but you’re getting a complete revamped, improved and ultimately more refreshing experience. This record is almost an immaculate example of what experimental music should be sounding like in 2018, and any self-proclaimed fan of any of the genres covered in this record should definitely be giving it a go as soon as possible. Bach Part One will be released on 27th July via Translation Loss, Internet Weed and Corpse Flower Records.