Late last month Skee Mask quietly popped out two EPs as part of Ilian Tape’s ISS series, one of which comprises four tracks of fiercely abrasive techno and the other – from which MDP93 is taken – eight tracks of gorgeous, beatless, drifting ambient: perhaps the most relaxing collection of music he’s ever put his name to. Honestly, if you’re feeling even mildly stressed or anxious – or even if you’re not – please put this on and go and look at the sky for a bit.
Honestly, Skee Mask is just outrageously good. I’m only three tracks into his latest album Pool which kinda came out of nowhere last week, and I’m already convinced it will be in my top 10 of the year. Very few other producers can touch him in terms of rhythm, creativity and his ability to create unique, engaging and highly emotional musical landscapes. LFO is one of his gentler efforts, beatless and almost devoid of percussion, with the ebb and flow of synth lines driving it forward.
MDP5 is taken from a pair of EPs Skee Mask released this week that illustrate the two extremes of his music. The first, ISS005 is club-focussed – at times brutal – jungle and breakbeat, while the second ISS006 is entirely beatless, ambient atmospherics, and if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time at all it will be no surprise which of these I’ve gravitated towards.
Listening to any of these tracks in isolation doesn’t really do them justice: as with pretty much all of Skee Mask’s releases there’s a narrative thread that runs though ISS006 that really requires you to listen to it in its entirety to be properly appreciated. But MDP5 nicely illustrates what to expect, and is a marked shift in tone for an artist who, although often dealing in similarly deconstructed electronics, has never gone this stripped-back (or bleak) before.