Deep Medi introduced the anonymous Old Apparatus to the world back in January via a cavernous self-titled EP, featuring a pair of recordings transmitted from a distant future of darkside bass worship and blackened percussive abrasion. With those tracks clocking in at just shy of ten minutes each, the six-minute follow up is something of a surprise. With results as captivating as this however, the brevity of Zebulon and B-side Hammerhand can be forgiven.
Length aside, Zebulon picks up right where Old Apparatus left off. Skeletal rhythms are danced over by a plaintive, almost folk vocal credited to a mysterious entity named Festival. The balance between this painfully trendy hauntology experimentation and the wallowing deep subs is fantastic, and represents a definite move toward the rest of UK bass and away from pure noise sculpture or abstraction. Flipside Hammerhand is a retooling of the B-side from the first EP, an uncomfortable but arresting mix of staggered beats, extended synthlines, and a reverb-heavy vocal provided by Dodeca Records MC Mowgli. The addition of these verging-on mainstream vocals to music so fractured and desolate is a very exciting idea and has already led to comparisons with minimal pioneer Burial. Whoever Old Apparatus turns out to be, he/she is certainly living up to their billing as one to watch in 2011.