M.E.S.H: Piteous Gate
In a world where information overload is rife and our interconnectedness highlights that humanity hasn’t evolved as far from medieval times as we like to think, Piteous Gate sounds like the future and the past at once. James Whipple, the guy behind M.E.S.H. has a background in fractured forms of dance and electronica. Piteous Gate isn’t in any way danceable but its roots are planted firmly in the most far out moments of Grime, Dub and Drum n’ Bass. Like Autechre before him, Whipple takes these inspirations and destroys them. But where Autechre sound like computers gone to decay, M.E.S.H attempts to make sense of our future.
Gigantic drum samples snap out of cavernous space. Organic sounds clash with stereo clutter. Sheets of synthesisers melt into the audio sphere and then slip out of your grasp again. These elements are disparate. They operate on their own planes and there is an enormous sense of space in each track, including plenty of near silence. Those empty seconds between sounds actually vibrate, the silence is electrified.
While listening to this record (countless times now!) it occurred to me how ‘real’ the elements of electronica sound nowadays. The time when music composed using digital devices sounded separate from ‘acoustic’ instruments is long gone. It’s normal now.
I have to remind myself that the flutes fluttering around Optimate, for example, aren’t ‘real’ flutes. More likely they’re a simulacra, appropriated from another source and chopped and screwed into digital oblivion. I get to thinking how more and more our reality is becoming an online, digital one. It’s like the Matrix, man. Towards the end of this record, Whipple titles a track The Black Pill, suggesting an alternative to the blue and red pills offered by Morpheous. A different reality. An unknown future.
It makes perfect sense that the album’s title, Piteous Gate references a cult Science-Fantasy novel written by Gene Wolf in the 80s. This is the sound of future generations remembering the beginning of the Deep Web.