Sinister low-end bass waves, disorienting psychedelic haze, sheer intensity – with Hype Williams and King Midas Sound, the third instalment of CTM Festival’s new Polymorphism series in cooperation with Berghain presents two truly unique musical experiences.
Hype Williams are not only hard to track down in terms of identity. The ingenious play with multiple personalities, fake biographies and carefully dropped rumors of the alleged duo of Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland is matched by a sound that is equally hard to define: hazy drones meet crunched eurovision lullabies, kinetic drum machine jams sputter unsettling funk, and smeared washes of synth rise into moments of unadulterated, opiate bliss, just to fall back into endless loops beaten-out into a state of hollow trance. At no point do Hype Williams settle into a fixed style, nor does the duo allow their musical roots to be clearly identified. Dub, Jungle, Grime, Hardcore Punk, Rap, Easy Listening, Noise, J-Pop, Improv, Game Music or fucked-up R’n’B, Hype Williams twist rags and shreds of popular culture into their own original material to create a complex web of quotes beyond recognition. Their performances are filled with much the same kinds of riddles, where one might witness a man hidden behind a beekeeper’s helmet burn children’s dolls, a bodybuilder flexing his muscles, or have a teenager run on a treatmill while a man disguised with a weird rubber mask lurkes on top of the speaker stacks.
Hype Williams can’t be reduced to their music, if anything, they are a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk. They immerse their surroundings into shape-shifting obscuring haze in all manners possible, leaving a trail of fumes rising from the quarry of pop culture.
After three Hype Wiliams records (Hippos in Tanks, Carnivals, De Stijl) as well as numerous online releases and Youtube videos, November 2011 saw the relase of a fourth album "Black is Beautiful" – this time on London’s Hyperdub label and under the name of Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland. With this and a string of other recent releases (Laurel Halo, Dark Star, DVA etc.) the label operated by Steve Goodman aka Kode9 stylistically proliferates in new directions, showing an unwavering will to break with one-dimensional fixations to Dubstep, Grime or Funky.
In their very own way, on „Black is Beautiful“ Hype Williams draw near to the smoked-out sound signatures of Dub. Here and with the sheer physical intensity of their performances they cross paths with King Midas Sound, also releaseíng on Hyperdub. A project of venerable sound extremist Kevin Martin (God, Techno Animal, Sidewinder, Course of the Golden Vampire, The Bug) together with singer and poet Roger Robinson and singer Kiki Hitomi, the music of King Midas feeds as much on the recent sounds of the British hardcore continuum as on experimental electronica and the roots traditions of Reggae, Dancehall and Soul. Enigmatic crackle and hiss spread through vast echo spaceswhile sluggish beats and low-end basslines creepily expand through time and space, creating a sensation that resembles a nocturnal walk home from a night out, when one feels equally alert, whacked-out and dazed.. The poetry and voices of Robinson and Hitomi create a haunting intensity in a subtle, almost quiet way. King Midas Sound invoke „low-frequency fever dreams immersed in the spirit of dub“ (Resident Advisor) – sinister, melancholic, full of troubled soul and emotional depth.
In November 2011 Hyperdub released „Without You“, an album with reworkings of originals from the critically acclaimed 2009 album „Waiting for You“, inclunding tracks by Flying Lotus, Gang Gang Dance, Hype Williams, Kuedo, Kode9, Mala and others.
The last time both, Hype Williams and King Midas Sound played Berlin was at CTM Festival 2011. Supporting their November 22 appearance at the Berghain will be Disscoxx, one of the many aliases of Berlin music activist Marius Reisser.
Press about Hype Williams
„They lie about their names and origins, they number rather than name their tracks, they smear every whip-crack beat with cringing levels of feedback and warped, paranoid samples, and fuck you if you can’t figure it out or draw your own conclusions. And all the while, your face and thighs and earlobes vibrate with frightening force, and your sightlessness no longer matters. They have made their live set a purely physical experience. Why? Because they can. Maybe it’s not all hype; maybe they’ve devised a genuinely new way of making and experiencing live music. Or more likely not, but we’re all too shell-shocked and fooled to tell the difference. Either way, they’ve made their point.“
→ Gen Williams, The Line of Best Fit
"The biggest coffee shop in the world; nothing happens, it's purgatory for people who failed in their own countries."
→ Dean Blunt about Berlin in the Guardian
Press about King Midas Sound
„Think Massive Attack at their most sinister, their most fluid – the heavy ganja vibes of Inertia Creeps mixed with the ethereal drift of 100th Window, perhaps – and you’re halfway there.“
→ Louis Pattison, BBC
„ An oddly emotional nocturnal record, with enough poignancy to give label mate Burial a run for his money.“
→ The Milk Factory
„This is a masterclass in 21st century dub soul disquiet – consider the gauntlet thrown down.“
→ Ben Murphy, FACT
„This is dub production rendered as the final reverberations of a deserted cityscape, infused with a crumbling low-end that does for bass what a single fluorescent tube in an underground concrete tunnel does for light. And the voice decorates it like a spiderweb-- fragile in appearance, but structurally resilient enough to hold strong against the rhythm.“
→ Nate Patrin, Pitchfork