Neu Gestalt is the alias of Edinburgh-based electronic musician Les Scott, whose fourth album Controlled Substances was created using a deliberately pared-back set of tools: a violin, a guitar, a modular system for processing source material, Akai samplers and an Atari computer from the late 80s to bring it all together.
The result is twelve tracks of extreme fragility, each and every sound within them processed and sculpted into their final form, and only occasionally betraying their original sources. On the standout ‘Kintsugi’, echoing temple percussion and glitchy rhythms provide a basis for heavily processed guitar patterns and frozen half-melodies, while on opening track ‘Machines Of Grace’ plaintive violins emerge as crackly, embrittled textures over a bass-heavy electronic dub rhythm slowed down to a glacial pace.
Scott is a fan of the way that timestretched samples have an inherently degraded quality, and you can hear that play out across the material here, providing an evocative fabric through which more clarified sounds are permitted to wend their way. The effect, on tracks like the mesmerising ‘A Glow From The Wreckage’ or ‘Drowned Worlds’, is like trying, and ultimately failing, to precisely alight upon memories from the gauzy mists of your past.
Controlled Substances will be released by Alex Tronic Records on February 8 2019.
Words: Mat Smith
(c) 2019 Further.