28 Sep 2023

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

SLICEDUB - Album Review: Grotesque Coil

27 May 2023 // A review by Steve Shyu
Oskar Simmons Carlsson and James Smith, AKA SLICEDUB. The two-man experimental-electro/dub act hailing from Auckland and Hawkes Bay have brought forth their first major release, entitled Grotesque Coil, released on Auckland label Glass Half Full.

The duo describe their sound as “heavy dub production methods, distilling a weird south Pacific blend of dark, psychedelic noise”. Following the release of the aforementioned record, I had been given personal intel by a fellow reviewer that it was “distinctly unusual”. To which I thought “There’s no way it can be that weird!”. And thus, with open ears, I dove right into this proverbial coil of grotesqueness.

The record launches with the eerie, somniferous and brooding affair that is Nettles, featuring vocalist Ro Ortiga. This style is further explored on track 2, Abandoned Urge, albeit with operatic singing courtesy of Chantelle Gerrard, though the two numbers could easily have melded into one another.

Quite interestingly, SLICEDUB called upon one or two worldly influences for this collection of tunes. Rat Kitchen features lyrics and vocals performed in Mandarin Chinese, with Colin Shaw singing

“There’s only one possibility,

There’s just one kind of choice”

With limited capabilities in my mother tongue, that was the extent I could make out in the softly-crooned vocals, amongst other words I managed to pick up. In any case, whether one understands the lyrical content, this made for an enjoyable experience, hearing a different language being used to express oneself. Aotearoa New Zealand is only going to become more multicultural, so why not lean into it?

In a somewhat similar theme, i & i is not only composed as a slow dub tune, it features some well thought-out conscious lyrics assumedly by Askia, but also very pertinent samples addressing colonisation and its effects. Once again, in a multicultural society of the modern day, why not lean into discussions of race and its connections with socio-economic issues?

Sincronia also features non-English lyrics and vocals. Like the songs prior to it on the LP, it also bears the signature of slow tempo and brooding instrumental backing, only this one is performed in Español Spanish, further showcasing the diversity SLICEDUB have been open to.

A personal highlight of the album arrives at Network Cyst, bringing together chorused chants, delicate tinklings of a guitar riff, an earthy, deep synthesised bassline, all presented over a light-footed garage rhythm. Now this one is a great example of aural balance. The brief but intriguing three-minute outing has a very dynamic atmosphere to it, almost harking back to the days of computer game lobbies as the game is loading... Something like that!

For every highlight, there was bound to be a dip. The reworking/remix of track 8 Grotesque Coil featuring Andwahn could possibly have been left on the cutting room floor. Experimental, unusual and intriguing as it was, there really wasn’t much the rehashing of the LP’s namesake track could offer over the original.

All told, this record Grotesque Coil could be about as avant-garde as it gets this year, at least according to what has so far passed through these ears anyway. Predominantly electronica, it’s a deeply eclectic melting pot of experimental trip-hop, cryptic psychedelia, stirred with non-Western influences and cultural nods. The record from start to end could serve as a great soundtrack for one to write code to produce essays, paint a painting to, or enjoyed as an experimental branch of YouTube’s “Lo-Fi HipHop Radio”.

Expand your mind, and take a mental hike; experience Grotesque Coil for yourself and tell me I’m wrong.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )


SLICEDUB are an experimental electronic/dub/art duo from Aotearoa New Zealand (with one half residing in Tamaki Makaurau Auckland, and the other in Te Matau-a-Maui Hawkes Bay). They filter eclectic influences through heavy dub production methods, distilling a weird south Pacific blend of dark, psychedelic noise. After a self-released EP produced during the 2020 COVID-19 level 4 lockdowns in Aotearoa, the group returned in 2022 with mini-album, Grotesque Coil, released through Auckland label, Glass Half Full.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for SLICEDUB


Grotesque Coil
Year: 2023
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Steve Shyu

Will McClean - Album Review: Don't Forget to Breathe
28 Jul 2023 // by Steve Shyu
Out of the underground hip-hop scene of Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington comes Will McClean, who over the past handful of years has garnered accolades on his recorded music and performances. Having shared stages with Kiwi icons Troy Kingi, Che Fu and Diggy Dupé, Will seems determined to keep the momentum and create new releases.
Album Review: The Heroic Adventures of And$um & Lui Mill
21 Jul 2023 // by Steve Shyu
Following a string of acclaimed singles, Otautahi Christchurch Hip-Hop artists And$um and Lui Mills have released a brand new collaborative album of seven tracks named The Heroic Adventures of And$um & Lui Mill. The two rap artists have been kicking around the Christchurch Hip-Hop scenes for years, and have put together this LP as a result of their longtime friendship.
GZ - EP Review: The Story Behind the Realness
16 Jul 2023 // by Steve Shyu
Purportedly an artist with many pseudonyms, GZ is a rap artist active as a part of the Auckland hip-hop diaspora. Though safe to assume he’s had a considerable presence over the years under multiple stage names, I wasn’t able to unearth much in the way of artist info relating to GZ, except images of the man himself looking like a force to be reckoned with.
CACO - Single Review: Lights Off
19 Jun 2023 // by Steve Shyu
Raneem Caco, aka. CACO has continued to make waves in the hip-hop scenes of Aotearoa over the past six years.
These Four Walls - Single Review: Carousel
04 May 2023 // by Steve Shyu
Aotearoa-born and Queensland-based rockers These Four Walls’ mission is well and truly on the move. That mission is to further evolve from their previous LP This is Not a Future, from 2020.
Viices - Single Review: Sandcastle
26 Apr 2023 // by Steve Shyu
Today is the day Viices’s new song Sandcastle comes out! The band’s name has been around the live music circuits of Aotearoa for about eight years, under varying iterations of personnel, but the heart and soul of Viices remained.
Darklight Corporation - Single Review: Monogod
16 Apr 2023 // by Steve Shyu
“Holy riff, Darklight Corporation are back??” were the first words I uttered aloud when this new single metaphorically landed in my lap.
Coridian @ Tuning Fork, Auckland - 01/04/2023
05 Apr 2023 // by Steve Shyu
How could I miss this? Some of my personal favourite alt-rock acts in Tamaki Makaurau, at one of the best live venues in town.
View All Articles By Steve Shyu

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Doja Cat
    Kenya Grace
    Tate McRae
    Dave And Central Cee
    Olivia Rodrigo
    Taylor Swift
    Drake feat. SZA
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem