Secretive German duo Anstam craft dystopian grooves that sound like they were created with a set of post-apocalyptic machine tools. What sets their music apart from that of similarly abrasive contemporaries is that the identity of Anstam’s releases is always more grounded in concept than content. Baldwin and Carmichael may be crushing on first listen but at heart they are fiercely intelligent tracks, essays on the blurring of lines between dubstep, jungle, and techno.
Baldwin stomps along full of menace, with clockworking breakbeats surrounded by eerie chimes and uncanny fragments of melody. The uncomfortable balance is occasionally ripped open by shattering bass interjections before a brief, extraterrestrial climax gives way once more to a steadily crumbling groove. Carmichael is slower but no less dynamic; the precarious, circling rhythms of the opener replaced with a distinctly unsettled regularity, while a more animated bassline corrosively worms its way into every crevice.
If you enjoy these, be sure to keep an eye out for Anstam’s first full-length album when it drops later this year. Releases from this duo may have been few and far between, but every single one has been utterly essential, and their LP could quite possibly find itself on to a few of the more forward thinking end-of-year lists.