The abrasive, corrupting, dense sounds of Amnesia Scanner blasting through thick layers of smoke is certainly one way to spend a Sunday evening.
Presented by Sounds from the Other City and NTS Radio, the (appropriately titled) Xperienz show extracted components of dancefloor sounds - trap, trance, dancehall to name but a few - only to deconstruct them beyond recognition. The Berlin-based duo have kept themselves shrouded in mystery. Their website is a particularly hectic affair, offering little other than strange symbols, timestamps, and video links - nothing of a biography in sight. Amongst what we do know, is that alongside Holly Herndon they co-produced An Exit off her seminal Platform LP, and the release of their debut AS on Young Turks captivated and mystified listeners and reviewers alike.
Their videos, like their music, are heavily saturated in colour and tripped-out, mutating visuals, yet their set-up for MIF was far more minimal: a room drenched in a thick haze, and two stage lights on rotating pillars. As the pointillated synths of the more dormant album opener AS Garden Walls kicked in, the dense red glow, like a lighthouse amidst a storm of strobes, became the only comforting thing to cling onto throughout their performance.
Yet for sounds which could be so contorted and alien, Amnesia Scanner pushed you to the very teetering edge without properly tipping you over. Their music is, at its very core, intrinsically danceable in complement to its intensity. Through the pounding kicks of AS Chingy you could just about make out the glitchy processing of Mavado’s voice on At The Top (It’s Just Us). As for the rest, who knows where the sounds were coming from: computerised, human, or otherwise. But whatever, it was heavy and gritty and completely immersive.
By the end, the smoke had all but disappeared. As far as live shows go, this was a thrillingly unpredictable experience. In less than an hour, Amnesia Scanner had snatched you up into their hyper and confounding sound only to release you back again: dazed and confused, yet totally enchanted.
Words: Josie Roberts