SonuoS: perhaps the only label in the world that professes to deal exclusively with music between 35 and 80 BPM. A tempo range that many of us would consider murky and unfamiliar territory. How can you feel a rhythm that’s but a quarter of your pulse? This is a label pushed to the extremes. Yet this is precisely the kind of obscurantism that its label boss Finn Albertsson craves. Take for example, Albertsson’s mammoth 150-minute dub podcast for Stray Landings, or his reputation as someone who gets less than four hours sleep a night (“remember you can sleep in your grave” is something he often reminds me). Indeed, this extreme approach extends to its latest arrival: A.O.T’s Rundgång EP, the previews of which have been up for no less than three years. Yet the wait has been worth it, and it still sounds as as it did in 2013: completely unhinged.
We begin at the deep end. Title track ‘Rundgång’ transports you to another planet, with jittering glitches and percussive bleeps that sound like an alien broadcast. It’s grime music transmitted from the future, put in a code impossible to decipher. Uncanny voices from an artificial source narrate your journey, teaching you (amongst other things) the Swedish word for ‘bass’, as if lifted directly from a ‘teach yourself DJ chat’ language audiobook. And at 11-minutes, it’s an enduring trip. But resolution or conclusion are never given: this strange equation is best left unsolved. ‘Woot!’ is a joyfully chaotic experiment, mashing squelchy synths with a toy-box of effects processing. Unlike ‘Rundgång’, this sees an obvious and ever-growing progression with every rush of noise. Go Koyashiki’s remix of ‘Rundgång’ also contributes something far more sinister. Airy pulses of noise fill the stereo-field amidst the tick-tock of a Geiger counter. We even see the welcome but surprising introduction of a mournful piano, a ‘quiet after the storm’: colouring the mood in cinematic sepia.