Mark Kastner of Glasgow, aka Galaxian, has been manufacturing genre-bending and undefined electronics for over 10 years now. Adorned in a menacing mask and helmet, his hallucinatory electro has steadily absorbed listeners from all types of musical background like a maelstrom of psychedelic liberation. Kastner’s dynamism has only really begun to leave its mark on the unorthodox electro realms in the last 3 years, after being picked up by heavy-hitting labels such as Lower Parts, Shipwrec and Return to Disorder. His anarchistic aesthetic has only been strengthened over the years, exacerbated by an unerring desire to avoid artistic convention and submit militant but evocative electronic forays unbound by any genre-aligned resistance.
The cyborg’s latest offering has rather unsurprisingly been unleashed onto the world via label of the moment; Ilian Tape. Steered by the visionary Zenker Brothers, the imprint has also been around for over 10 years but has only begun to achieve a stark, worldwide fan base in the last few years. However there is no doubt that in 2019, Ilian Tape is consistently releasing some of the most stunning developmental dance music the world has ever encountered. Whether pushing lesser known names or those with staunch roots in the scenes Ilian has dominion over, the releases are always ineffably staggering. As someone who lived near Munich in 2013/14, I have been lucky enough to attend various Ilian Tape showcases and watch in a close proximity as the label has blossomed into a sonic master of subsumption. This new Galaxian EP goes even further in pushing their experimental envelope of unrestricted intensity.
The EP starts with ‘External Observer’, an unabashedly shrill electro workout with a more dancefloor-orientated tinge than we’ve come to expect from the resolute Galaxian. The organic textures pulsate methodically, coordinating intricately with the melodic ambiences until the rolling bass looms forth and perforates the tracks vitals with a surreptitious sense of reticent doom.
‘Fuzzy Clouds of Potential Existence’ kicks things back up a gear or two via the more conventional Galaxian methodology, in the sense that it’s less approachable but characteristically comprehensive. The singular elements that are each in business for themselves are somehow programmed in a manner that allows the track to morph seamlessly between identities in an almost thespian manner.
‘Coming Up For Air’ is my personal pick of the EP, a track exemplified by its brutal chopped breaks and hauntingly sinister bass. Despite it’s overarching darkness and power, it still manages to retain a sleek beauty that radically galvanises listeners into paradoxical states of sorrowful emotion and aggressive shape-throwing necessity. I honestly have no doubt that the track would fit perfectly into any apocalyptic-era style film, so maybe we should note this for (near) future reference…
‘Mechanistic Control Fantasies’ is doused in Atari influences, with a jarring BPM that in no way restricts aural flow but instead accentuates the clicking percussion and oddly-crafted synth-line.
Sadly, the EP has to finish. ‘Terminal Phase’ cuts Galaxian’s latest transmission off with an eerie signal of lurid intention. Like a celestial drone signalling it’s home planet, the noise evokes thoughts of otherworldly occurrences and cinematic dread.
Whilst still undoubtedly experimental and illicitly ethereal, the EP falls somewhat within the remit of DJ’s who constantly reiterate that they are ‘pushing boundaries’ in their sets. Regardless of its danceability, Galaxian has created another belligerent and bespoke masterpiece brimming with peculiarities and programming dexterity.