This Primitive World article was written by Tim Burden, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Will Hayes Collins.
Sam Willis, a.k.a Primitive World, first rose to prominence as one half of London-based electronic duo WALLS, whose self-titled 2010 debut garnered significant critical accolades, appearing on many end-of-year lists and being awarded the title of ‘Best Electronic Album Of The Year’ by MOJO. In terms of style, Willis’ productions as Primitive World are a million miles away from the melodic downtempo stylings of WALLS, replaced by pounding experimental-edged industrial tech. Never fear however; whereas the styles of Willis’ projects are hugely different the quality of output remains the same, a statement more than confirmed by new EP ‘Purple Caps’.
From the outset, ‘Purple Caps’ is a superb showcase of dark, atmospheric jacking techno. The opening title track is 6 minutes of glitchy organised aural chaos, abound with strange clicks and buzzes and signposting in no unclear terms what the listener is in for. ‘Azimuth’ broadly follows suit but with the rhythmic experimentation reigned in somewhat and replaced with hypnotic layered synth lines married together with swirling waves of background noise to magnificent effect.
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The second side of ‘Purple Caps’ gets even darker, beginning with the acid-y sludge of ‘Q-Type’, a track so relentless that you could easily find yourself breaking into a sweat just listening to it. The sample selection is clearly intended to surprise and unsettle and this goal is most definitely achieved; the constant thud and periodic screaming make ‘Q-Type’ the nearest thing to auditory ABH that you’re likely to find. The track rounding off the EP, ‘Tides Of Lust’, starts off more minimally, building from a foundation of creepy echoey synth pads backed up with rainforest-esque chirping before mutating into a gloriously brutal sensory overload and ensuring that ‘Purple Caps’ ends on the highest of highs.
It should be obvious at this stage that Primitive World is by no means music to relax to. Those looking for a producer with a lot of variation throughout their releases will also likely be left wanting. The scale of moods on offer here ranges from “brutal and angry” to “slightly less brutal and angry” but when the music is done as well as this, who cares? ‘Purple Caps’ is a wall of noisy industrial tech and on those terms it is a magnificent addition to Willis’ Primitive World releases.
‘Purple Caps’ is out now via R&S Records.