worriedaboutsatan: Even Temper
Given its gothic leanings and generally macabre character, worriedaboutsatan would seem to be an apt choice of name for the project formed in 2006 by Manchester mates Thomas Ragsdale and Gavin Miller. The group's history is unusual, too: following a string of EPs and debut album (2009's Arrival), worriedaboutsatan all but vanished in 2010 when Ragsdale and Miller shifted their attention to the techno project Ghosting Season. But then, just as surprisingly, worriedaboutsatan re-emerged in 2014 with release of the single I'm Not / The Next Round, a move that in turn paved the way for the newly hatched Even Temper long-player.
It's a mercurial and shape-shifting collection, and one not at all easy to pin down. But such things are strengths, not handicaps, that keep the listener engrossed throughout the forty-two-minute ride. Similar to Arrivals, the new material oozes a woozy quality, and its heavily atmospheric electronic design draws the listener into its curdling world. In an album where no one genre predominates, the eight tracks variously draw upon techno, ambient, electronica, post-rock, and prog as they go about their wonky business.
A shadowy ambient-styled overture, “I'm Not Much, but I'm All I Have” envelops the listener in a black shroud of reverb-drenched piano patterns, processed guitar textures, and gothic vapours. By comparison, the shuddering panorama “Sleep of the Foolish” plunges deeper, wedding elements of wiry underground techno and dark ambient as it pushes its way through a thick pool of voices and crackle. As immersive is “Church of Red,” which swells into a fractured riff on acid-techno and gothic electronica, while the addition of Morgan Visconti to “MV Joyita” not only nudges Even Temper towards pop-rock territory, it also adds a Doors-like quality to the song in the vocal delivery. The experimental vignette “A Damaged Magician,” on the other hand, sees worriedaboutsatan temporarily re-locating to Coil's neck o' the woods.
Among other things, Even Temper shows that worriedaboutsatan's tracks are more than functional dancefloor exercises but instead dramatic set-pieces that, the booming kick drums-driven“Jaki” aside, retain only the slightest of connections to techno and house. Ragsdale and Miller are clearly aiming for something more unusual with the project, something that bridges the gaps separating multiple genres.