Available on: When In Doubt LP
BAM BAM BAM-BAM-BAM. Stop. BA-BA-BA-BA BAM BAM. Stop. You’re only 14 seconds in and you feel like smashing up your living room out of sheer unadulterated joy. You’re only 14 seconds in and this monolithic shotgun stutter fanfare feels like Led Zeppelin covering Barry White being chopped up by The Young Gods and played out at a rave. And of course it doesn’t sound anything like that at all. You could be in a coma, hell you could be dead and it will take 14 seconds of ‘Winamp Melodrama’, the opening track on 2562’s magnificent third album Fever to have you up and dancing and in better shape than Batman. Taut but without anxiety, the immensity of these relentless explosions hold a rigid groove – industrial bells and hammers join the fray and by the time a rotating encroaching synth-wave kicks in at the end you’re out of control and punching through seven ceilings. You’ll feel like a superhero.
Fever is a concept album with a very simple but rigorous set of rules – every nuance and texture is half-inched from disco records produced from the mid 70’s to the early 80’s with Dave Huismans’ own birth year of 1979 acting as a temporal pivot. Restriction as the mother of invention then: restrain the palette to dig deep and find something within. The cover photography finds a child (Huismans?) reaching out to a stereo and that something then is innocence personified and whilst that’s not exactly subtle, what’s packaged within expresses such a deep love, such magnificent exuberance and joie de vivre for the sounds being manipulated that it couldn’t be more perfect. Fever: the title as allusion and point of reference is note perfect and precisely nails the overall vibe – fever as manic blissful intoxication.
Huisman’s approach to the sampler with these tight restrictions yields nothing less than miraculous results. Every sourced note is used so tightly – enough of a cut for each lift to have an identity but nothing more than fleeting. It’s only the constant repetition that writes each sound so gleefully in your own body-brain. These pressure-flickers of texture have been used so sparingly because Huisman’s compositional approach seems to be an entirely percussive one – these are the most exuberantly stuffed rhythm tracks you’ll ever hear, a hyper-distillation of every dance floor genre of the last 30 years, and a molten homage to all post-disco dance floor action that simultaneously sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
Fever constantly draws attention to its own construction. Every chop is blatant and you can hear sounds being switched on and off – there’s never any at any point that this is the world of the sampler. It’s a mechanic album, and its grooves are actually really clunky; it’s not funky in any conventional way but maybe that’s why it feels so incredibly fresh. 2562 is forcing you to find some new moves. And finally it’s all highly surreal – there’s not one second of its 54 minutes running time that doesn’t beg some kind of recognition at the periphery of your consciousness but you can never quite grasp it. 2562 does Dali doing disco. Incidentally it sounds nothing like any disco record ever created.
Let’s dive in at random. ‘Cheater’ for example: a slow crisp gallop pitched in between 2step and crunchy junglist breakbeat with cut cymbal splashes, handclap fragments, rolling forward with warehouse-sized industrial fanfares, cavernous with minute detail. You could throw in a few more genres – broken house, dubstep, techno it sounds like everything and consequently nothing. ‘Aquatic Family Affair’ is a more conventionally propulsive piece, more stuttering (Fever stutters a lot) soft-textured breaks over a shimmering sub-bass line that holds off some kind of electronic menagerie circling in the distance. Flip the coin again and ‘Flavour Park Jam’ pushes 2562’s abstractions to the max – an entirely off-kilter percussive narrative (countless rhythmic textures bouncing round the sound field in a deranged game of ping pong) welded on to crinkling micro-electronic malfunction with ‘Trans-Europe Express’ phasing. The closing title track gleefully throws what sounds like Alan Splet’s hissing Lynch vents over a tightly-wound militaristic stomp and a slo-mo minimal riff – genuine robot funk.
What is truly remarkable about Fever is its coherence; its unique sonic stamp – every piece sounds like it belongs here and simply couldn’t exist anywhere else. It is cohesive structurally, texturally and atmospherically, and as 2562’s third album, represents the pinnacle thus far of a staggering career arc – a magnificent achievement in itself.