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HATE - Bad History (2014)

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PRETTY BOYS DONT SURVIVE UP NORTH
HATE is a sort of underground electronic super-group, connecting the dub techno talents of Andy Stott with forward-thinking contemporaries Miles Whittaker and Greg Howell. Instead of stylistic compromise, the trio find common ground through a shared love of classic UK jungle.

 Bad History effectively tributes this scene with a sound that's modern and complex. Where similar albums have fallen prey to revisionist critiques, HATE find strength in diversity. Tracks are rapidly distilled and reshaped around their raw elements, carefully dissecting jungle's core. The trio lace innovation into an established style that acknowledges tradition whilst constantly subverting it.

Although surprisingly cohesive, HATE's constant experimentation offers glimpses of individual thought. Ideas converge within the larger whole to occasionally highlight specific members. Synth-heavy moments throughout Side A strongly recall Stott's solo work while latter tracks evoke the dominant rhythmic manipulation of Whittaker's Demdike Stare project.

Side A's Hate Soundsystem Session forcefully fuses tracks together for an intense 40 minute set. Maintaining momentum across these jungle workouts does wonders for Bad History's flow, even imbuing brief ambient moments with welcome tension.

Comprised entirely of original material, the mixing on Side A is practically flawless. I'm reminded of Shackleton expertly weaving together his own tunes to create the hypnotic atmosphere of Fabric 55. Though unlike Shackleton, History's tracks function independently and still retain impact while separate.

Still, it's this variety that helps History stand out amongst a sea of junglist revival records, and what makes it worth your time. Notably absent are the annoying weed references, irritating samples, noisy MCs, and pretty much every other dated jungle trope usually getting in the way of my drums. Thank the lord these people have taste.

The B side here is an intriguing singles collection that sadly falls short of Side A. The group's non-jungle influences feel far more pronounced, yet their execution is lacking. Still definitely worth a listen, especially if you like hearing high quality textures in a lo-fi aesthetic because it's been ripped off a tape.

I'll finish by further outlining some of History's influences outside of jungle. The tape draws upon elements of UK dubstep, garage, and modern techno, an unsurprising combination if you're familiar with each member's other work. I love hearing a deconstructed approach to modern jungle, presumably courtesy of Miles. Demdike Stare's latest album (Passion) fully embraces the experimental club sound that's being toyed with here, and both are fascinating listens.

I barely even have criticisms for this bitch. The trio offer a fresh take on old-school jungle with incredibly refined execution. Though HATE's focus might be what's most impressive, uniting 3 unique styles toward a common goal without coming off as messy or conflicted.

If you share my breakbeat fetish then this is a must listen, if not then enjoy functioning in society I guess.

8.5/10

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