Including digital exclusive track Scent Mask
Having given us a taster of what to expect with their RBMA Choice Mix, Fis joins forces with the anthropologist Rob Thorne for their debut collaboration Clear Stones. A six-track plus bonus track album that maps out the collective vision that pairs Rob's organic instrumentation using a variety of tones and tesselations drawn from wood, stone, bone and shell with Fis' post-DNB dynamics and feedback drenched soundscapes.
Opening up with the tribal rainforest hum of Tor - 201, the atmosphere recalls some of Fis' earliest recordings for Samurai Horo, that mixture of fast-footed, yet vision blurry panic that feels like you're trying to escape from some unseen enemy, yet the further you go, the deeper you sink into the cold, radioactive undergrowth.
Fis starts the first few seconds of Clear Stones by amassing a thick cloak of concrete drones that do away with any view of sunlight as the duo set off on their journey into the unknown. The feeling of things slipping into darkness prevails on Front Ear with Thorne's unique instrumentation awash with Fis' juggernaut mix of murky electronics. This is complemented by album highlight Wooden Lung, the best way to describe this without listening is to imagine taking a full dose hit of DMT while being stalked by an entire hive of blood thirsty wasps through the forests of Te Ureweras, an edgy mix sure to leave even the most hardened noise nuts feeling swamp-soaked and feverish.
Moving into the similar spaces of fellow Different Circles don Shapednoise, Glum Herrin sees Fis turn Thornes crunching terrain to a grizzly hydra of amorphous menace before its guts are ripped out and the track ends through a funeral march passage of sickeningly dank flutes. Before Whakauruuru and Phase Transition end the album with a call to arms that sees the duo lost deep in the mapped out jungle of rain-soaked feedback and poison dart drones, leaving the question of which direction do we take to go back unanswered.