For his sophomore ouevre, Charlie Juarez, pka WOLF, enlists Helsinki youngblood and upcoming IM debut 111X on a deconstructed club romp of heretofore-unmatched ferocity. While 2015’s debut “No Love” saw the lupine head of Infinite Machine snarl, growl and bark his way (alongside Liar) through a modernized take on heyday dubstep and jungle, 2017’s “Final Star” sees him bite, recalling the energy of his countless post-hardcore and screamo past outfits.
“Final Star” is an exercise in unrestraint, from start to finish. Utilizing the sonic palette of twenty-teens 4k 3D Zimmer-singularity movie trailers, it never de-escalates, starting at 11 and ramping up the tension to incalculable, irrational extents for the entirety of its 3’20” runtime. At the 1’7” mark, what seemed like a potential arrhythmic, experimental drone piece instead abruptly shifts gears (pun intended) into a hulking, thrashing, lumbering gait of titanic machinery and contrapuntal hauntings – reminiscent of an Akira Yamaoka piece for a Silent Hill combat section, in hyperdrive. Clocking in at 114 BPM in 4/4 time, it nevertheless seems deceptively fast and deceptively odd-timed throughout – a testament to the two producers’ extremely clever arrangement. And despite the fact that calling it ‘busy’ would be an understatement, it benefits so much from horizontal mixing and congruous design that it never overwhelms, but always hits like a truck. A truck that defies Euclidean geometry and Earth-gravity critical mass.
“Wounded Alien” is a perfect companion piece – it’s ever-so-slightly more subdued, in that it allows for a brief midsection of dulcet synth respite and the skittering sound design that aurally describes our titular alien’s asphyxia death throes, before and after exploding into downlifting staccato trance bombardments and call-and-response metal-on-metal crime. The track comes in two with two alternate takes from Astrosuka and W3C, respectively. Astrosuka’s remix opts for harmonic poignancy and an outsider-gqom-cum-Gantz-Graf-tribute approach, while W3C’s opts for martial rhythm and dubbed-out, tribal flair.
While a prodigious surprise from 111X, this is WOLF’s first (and Infinite Machine’s umpteenth) foray into what one might call ‘important work’. And “Final Star” is indeed important. Firstly, it is an EP-length victory lap to a long and storied career in music, that is only now hitting its third act. Secondly, it is a powerful statement of Charlie’s affection for indie sci-fi horror (a la Cloverfield et al), which almost unwittingly unearths the missing link between the psychological unease of those films and the grand cosmic terror of their Lovecraftian influences. Thirdly, it’s deconstructed club’s first instant classic – the questionable genre’s first defining, legacy release, that both lays out its emergent descriptors and subverts them completely… in one deft, masterful swoop. Do not sleep on this. And don’t sleep on Liar’s upcoming DLC Optimix™, coming later this spring.