EP: 10-20 – Island (Highpoint Lowlife HPLL039 2009)


First up, apologies to everyone who’s submitted stuff for review recently. I’ve been rather bogged down with other things, and the pile has been allowed to get a bit out of control. I’m going to make a concerted effort over the next few weeks to listen to and review everything. Your patience is appreciated!

10-20, aka Devon-based Ed Davenport, has rather rudely elbowed his way to the front, mainly because I was so taken by his self-titled debut album released earlier this year (and I think I was far from alone). Island is the first of a projected quadrilogy of EPs to be issued by Highpoint Lowlife over the coming months under the Landforms banner. The first three will be digital only releases – the fourth a blue vinyl seven inch.

I’m still exploring the album, which has layers and layers of rhythm and sound woven together into beguiling shapes. The new EP is similar, only denser. The two bookending tracks “Pol” and “Thing From Inner Space” both feature relentless, gurgling rhythms that churn away sounding both liquid and metallic at the same time. The rhythms are clear, and yet the beats are as solid as treacherous quicksand and sticky as glue. Already Davenport has developed a way of submerging his melodies in the background, so that they register almost subliminally. Thing From Inner Space has ghostly echoes of Karoli like guitar (is the Inner Space a reference to the legendary Can studio, or am I reading to much into things?). “Pol” relies on synth apparitions that quixotically appear and disappear.

“Hallow” is built on more solid foundations. Snappy, asynchronous beats settle into a hypnotic rhythm, and gradually weave a cocoon of understated melodic loops and crackling echoes around themselves. It’s uncharacteristically linear in construction, but none the worse for it. “Nei (Reversion)” is a reworking of a cut from the album, a carousel of clanking and fizzing machinery, like a Trevithick steam pump with a blocked boiler.

Island proves that there was nothing flukey about the album that preceded it. 10-20 is making a strong case for himself as the brightest new talent to appear on the electronic music scene since Burial.

1 Pol 5:35
2 Hallow 7:22
3 Nei (reversion) 5:01
4 Thing From Inner Space 4:55



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