Birmingham has been a melting pot for progressive music since it rebuilt itself post-war. Playing host to many mutating, free-flowing bands, the city found itself at the forefront of scenes such as post-punk, bhangra and Brumbeat. It was at the turn of the ‘90s when a fresh-faced Karl O’Connor and Peter Sutton formed the now-infamous Downwards label from which the Birmingham techno sound was born.
Keeping in line with the label’s longstanding M.O. (keep it local!), the latest on Downwards comes from Justin K Broadrick of Godflesh and Napalm Death renown. (The latter’s Mick Harris has also released on the label.) JK Flesh is Broadrick’s moniker of choice this time and the title of his EP, Exit Stance, is perhaps a nod to his earlier, noisier Last Exit project. He opens things up with the title track; a weapon for the floor, armed with earth-shattering kicks as warm as they are strong. It’s a peak time excursion set to be a firm favourite for DJs. “Bullied By Love” and “Caveman” venture deeper into Broadrick’s musical closet. Both tracks are powered by murky, sludgy basslines, drawing influences parallel to the Godflesh lineage while retaining techno aesthetics. “Motivated By Jealousy”, meanwhile, acts as an inner monologue of noise, saturation and convulsive paranoia.
JK Flesh – Exit Stance EP is out now on digital and vinyl, available here.