On this latest release, Inrush, anonymous collective EbE404 asks the question, “Exactly how small of a piece of sound do you need to get a groove?” While the first album, 2020’s Tedium and Loss presented an accomplished swell of noise-influenced modular synth compositions with occasional turns to minimalism, EbE404 builds Inrush’s collection of tracks from the barest bits and bobs of synthesized chirps, snatches of field recordings and found sounds that ebb and flow into varying degrees of maximalism. The album’s aesthetic resembles that of mid-career Autechre or the Haujobb/Forma Tadre side project NEWT, and as those releases demonstrate, while communicating with aliens or exploring abandoned space stations, you don’t need much to make a groove.
The stated intent of Inrush is more down-to-earth than the sci-fi scenarios conjured up by its use of synthesis and echoes, the album representing a day-in-the-life, the minimalist methods and the careful collection of sonic details evoking the arc of the day. “Slipping by One” and “Spectral Headboard” begin with sounds that resemble either the awakening of digital machines or crickets or frogs, building to longer synth passages punctuated by low ringing bells and snippets of percussion that gain urgency and increasing pace as the songs continue. “Zoom Team” comes the closest to a pure techno track as snatches of glitching voice samples build to telephonic ringing sounds reminiscent of Kraftwerk’s “House Phone.” The following “After Zoom Team” and “Dayset” serve as the inevitable comedown from such anxiety breeders as Zoom meetings and returning home, using mid-tempo bass tones, chiming noise, and static to build groovy yet still anxious music. After bedtime, the opportunities for truly unsettling events are available, as “2:32 AM” and “Sing for Everyone You Ever Hurt” effectively deploy human voices manipulated into barely understandable conversations alongside stabs of analog synth noise, representing the unreliability of memory, social anxiety, or even auditory processing issues.
A companion album of remixes, Ripple was released shortly after Inrush. The ManifestiV Traction mix of “Slipping by One” expands a chugging guitar part and brings in marimbas and saxophones, turning the song into a neo-noir soundtrack. The Dissociate mix of “Zoom Team” fleshes out the bass line and melody and makes the track symphonic in contrast to the original’s minimalism. The remix of “Spectral Headboard” by Tiree & Hutch vs. EbE404 is a compulsive and propulsive acid workout that at once aches for a kick drum yet doesn’t need it. The 20-minute closing track might surprise listeners attracted to the more studied minimalism of Inrush, but it stands as a worthwhile exploration of EbE404’s noise practices. Ripple will certainly reward the curious as the remixes shine and find space in the gaps of the originals to make something new. The overall facets of Inrush and Ripple do well to bring specific tools into play when they will be most effective, from the minimal to the overwhelming, showing just the kind of coherent and thoughtful racket that EbE404 can create.