Named after one of Burial's most haunting tracks, Near Dark is a new label and night based in Peckham. "Outline / Nameless" is their first release from error_lake, a young duo from the district currently living in Mexico. Following its first couple of mixes, this first release aims to set the stage for their characteristic sound.
The opener "outline" opens up to the ambiance of distant bells and ethereal strings, before crackles and glitches slowly rise, gearing us up towards a slow, steady dub-infused beat, sprinkled with distorted and chopped up vocal samples. Digital decay becomes a common theme in this release as the track explores its own texture, meandering between barely conscious foggy states, intimate memories processed and distorted beyond recognition. We hear a voice: "I know you're doing the right thing..." The track breaks down halfway and a short, sombre vocal appears, singing casually as though to itself. The lyrics are hard to make out, amplifying the dream-like atmosphere of this sonic patchwork, before the thudding distorted bass returns with a vengeance, tearing through the ambiance to reveal a short, heavenly but ominous string section to close the track.
The second track, "nameless", likewise begins with a mysterious ambient drone. Once again, we hear indistinct voices in the distance. The soft vocals come in much quicker this time, the same cool and melancholic croon from the first track now taking centre stage. A tradition of relaxed vocals drenched in reverb has become a staple in the jazzy South London scene, tracing back through such artists as Jerkcurb (with whom they've shared a lineup), King Krule, Jamie Isaac, and Puma Blue. But here the jazz is deleted, leaving us with a much moodier, darker sound resonant with our times—a fragile, soulful sigh attempting to find its place within the cold and unstoppable machine that surrounds it.
In this debut error_lake effortlessly eliminate the boundaries between indie song, hard dub, and sound design. An impressively intricate glitched-out melancholy for which we eagerly await their return.