Secret Meeting score: 80
by Philip Moss
Absurdity of ATCG (I) is a whirlwind of skyscraper synths and skittish, unsettled drum machines that brings to mind acts such as Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails across an exciting collection of dark experimentation with a pop underbelly.
The second EP from Eşya, aka Savages’ bassist Ayşe Hassan, opens with Everything, which certainly sets the tone with its existential lyrical refrain – ‘Everything and nothing is all we want to be; everything and nothing is all you meant to me!’ But the beating heart of the soundscape that underpins her wicked, unsparing voice is unpredictable – and despite being over eight minutes long, the arrangement is so daringly interesting that at no point does its attack on the senses lose focus.
Lead single, Nothing, explores the impact of moments, relationships and experiences. The instrumental backdrop is a little more sprightly, but a bass line that Peter Hook would be proud of drives the track, which is again topped by Eşya’s abrasive, fuzz vocal. The brilliantly titled Machine Dance provides an unsettled interlude, as layered, distorted vocals twist and criss-cross into a miasma. In fact, only finale, Wild Nights, underwhelms – feeling simpler, less embellished – and not hitting the heights of what has come before it.
But where EPs can often feel lightweight or subservient to the album format, Absurdity of ATCG (I) feels bold and vital. A quite astounding collection.