Anyone who followed Stray Landings in 2017 would have picked up on our praise of Subtext, the Bristol imprint headed by James Ginzburg. Last year, they released a very impressive flurry of LPs, from Ellen Arkbro’s For Organ and Brass, Cevdet Erek’s Davul, Yair Elazar Glotman’s Compound, and Clear Stones, a collaborative album from FIS and Rob Thorne. We included all four of these LPs in our end of year list.
So you’ll have to excuse my giddiness around Subtext’s latest release: To Shock the Sky and Shake the Earth, the debut release from xin. This new LP continues a Subtext tradition in exploratory electronics: the never-ending search for novelty in a genre so often constricted by convention. Indeed, xin has made the decision to release the album through alternative distribution, including Resonate and a handful of independent platforms. On this decision, xin explained that they “don’t believe that there should be one way to do anything, or in convention for convention’s sake”.
The album itself adopts some unusual compositional styles. Just listen to ‘Garr’ from the album, a jarring reminder of the sampling’s transformative sonic potential. Here, disparate elements and sound sources coalesce into a patchwork of noise. It shouldn’t work but it does. To celebrate this release, xin has put together a mix for us, in their own words, “a messy assemblage of things I’ve been listening to in recent months. I’m very much still learning and figuring things out when it comes to mixing, but I’m trying to be ambitious with it!” Listen below: