Recommended: Hav Lyfe – Hav Lyfe LP

Ain’t no fuck around mix blog.” Sonic Router has come a long way since its inception four years ago. Last year they took the bold but logical step of releasing records, physical artifacts in an increasingly digital world. First came the delectably languid and gloopy “Torus” EP, which was released on a limited run of cassette tapes, followed by the energetic “We Jostle” EP from Wattville, which included a superb remix from Archie Pelago. For SR003 it’s the turn of another new artist, the mysterious Hav Lyfe. Working on an old Pentium and recording straight to MP3, his sounds have an ethereal quality that belies, or perhaps depends upon, his basic setup. Ten tracks, vignettes, sketches, repeated phrases and half-heard melodies, it’s a striking work, helping to further define the Sonic Router ethos. Opener “bb” rolls with with an intimidating swagger, its clanking arpeggios, set to an unknowable tempo, drifting in and out of key as if played through a Walkman that’s running low on battery power. Sounding wholly new and not of this world, it’s a thrilling introduction to this new producer.

Stream: Hav Lyfe – Hav Lyfe LP (Preview)(Sonic Router Records)

Tracks like “Civivic” and “My Man Kelly Moon From The Gavin” (a nod to Wu-Tang, as noted by Dummy) roll like Boards of Canada-esque hip-hop jams, all swooning synths over crunching beats. “No Title 22” and “Dion2cool“, however, trade on slippery, cavernous repetition and uncertainty. Premiered on Sonic Router’s Pentagon Podcast, “Mond” aches with tension and confusion. Frozen phrases and lingering chords collide with extra-terrestrial bleeps and ghostly vocals. “Ocean Terrace“, four minutes of beauty, is aptly named; its wistful melody evoking an apocalyptic sunset, its percussion crashing like waves against the rocks. It’s the soundtrack for a strained yet beautiful holiday. If “bb” sounded like a dying tape player, “Wristgame” feels like a dial-up modem on its last legs, recorded on to a particularly filthy slab of vinyl. There’s a melody in there somewhere, possibly alongside some scrambled message from your mother or your cousin, but it’s not immediately apparent. A fitting closer then, to a collection of outlines and suggestions, rather than clear pictures and explanations. Coinciding with the release is a 10-minute tribute from WANDA GROUP, a similarly discordant yet intriguing piece of work. You can treat yourself to a download of this beast when you pre-order the release; a worthy payoff for your patience and deferred gratification. Sonic Router may have embraced the physical, yet they remain rooted in the digital world. It’s how they’ve managed to find acts like Hav Lyfe. Here’s hoping there are many more like him to come.

Stream: Wanda Group – Moon Has Got Her Umbro On (How We Visualise Hav)

Hav Lyfe – Hav Lyfe LP is out on Sonic Router Records on February 4

Aidan Hanratty

Dublin ...