General Ludd: Hit It – Clan Destine Traxx

So far my only experience of Glaswegian label Clan Destine has been through the Dark Acid trilogy of 12″s they put out last year. It was a pretty good experience, it has to be said. No, strike that: it was a great experience. If you haven’t tracked them down you, you really should. six sides of wax spread thick with some of the most dark side, amorphous takes on Acid you will probably ever hear from some seriously on-point artists. Tuff Sherm, Jamal Moss, Torn Hawk and WORKER/PARASITE pulled out all the stops and delivered a modern vision of Acid House refracted through an almost pitch black prism, but they weren’t the whole story.

The second release also contained tracks by Tropics Of Capricorn and Golden Teacher, which is important because they provide the composite parts for General Ludd, a duo who began life in Glasgow School of Art – otherwise famous for the eclectic nights held within its union, and the sheer number of Turner Prize nominees and winners it has generated. It’s also contained within a building by Charles Rennie Mackintosh but I’ll leave it there because I am apparently the only person alive that thinks he was a hack….

Anyway, aside from their critically aclaimed releases on Optimo Music as part of the Golden Teacher collective, The duo first came to the world’s attention in their newer General Ludd Guide with The Fit of Passion EP on Brookyn’s Mr Saturday Night. The killer track on it, Woo Haa, a fun drenched chunk of disco infused House that exposed them to a bunch of new ears as the record made its way into many a strange flight case. Expect it to be cropping up in many end-of year round ups come December.

Hit It, their full debut for Clan Destine, is probably as far from that sound as its possible to go. Neither of the two tracks are anywhere as accessible, and I wouldn’t put much money on this one joining it’s sibling in too many of the more strait-laced record bags either, which is a shame, really, as there are more than a few dance floors out there that could do with a dose of some serious freak-funk.

Hit It itself is less a tune than an extended experimental rhythm piece that probably owes more to genres like free style jazz and Jazz-funk than I know. It storms into being with fierce tribal polyrythms battering out a path through a very urban jungle. It never stays in one place very long, the frequent – sometimes subtle, sometimes blunt – changes in direction wrong foot you constantly, just as the curls of police sirens and layers of whooshes and taped-warped samples add a layer of haze to the strangely hypnotic effect. It has the vibe of a Warhol experimental piece, an oddball home movie of a voodoo ceremony in the dank heart of the city. It’s startlingly organic – the sort of free form madness most House producers would only admit to considering in the depth of a fever dream.

Kick Out is the straighter of the two, swapping the bruising and disorienting tribal storm for deceptively reassuring technoid patterns. a toxic spill of fractured, chewed up beats accompany the same brain fuzz of sirens and reversed, whispered, scuzzy taped madness. The snap of the hand claps, and the hiss of the percussion gives it a sense of direction missing from Hit It, even before the sample of MC5 materializes for a moment of stark aural warning and the tune morphs into a deep and viciously jacking killer. It’s the sort of music you imagine CBGBs and the Bowery would have been thick with in the seventies if that Proto art punk crew had discovered drum machines and sequencers instead of guitars and heroin. This is what you get if you cross the heart of a dancer with the peacock strut of a fallen angel. Deliciously malicious.