Christoph de Babalon and Mark. That’s one hell of a link-up, and one that makes a lot of sense when you think about it - both artists are known for erratic, cold innovations in drum ‘n’ bass that often spill out into neighbouring genres like industrial, noise and musique concrete. This principle rings true once again on the pair’s new collaborative EP, one delivered via the superb Australian label A Colourful Storm.
Simply entitled Split, this EP finds de Babalon delivering three tracks on the A-side while Mark locks down two for the flip. The trio from de Babalon moves in a similar manner to the Hectic Shakes record that he released via Alter back in 2019. Breakcore is more guiding hand than holistic aesthetic for de Babalon here - all of his entries contain swirling drum breaks, and ‘Webs Of Wraith’ and ‘When To End’ get up to jungle tempo, but these sounds are often positioned against droning keyboards and shadowy textures that draw first and foremost from dark ambient.
de Babalon’s vibe is continued on Mark’s lengthy closing number ‘Incantation For The Protection Of JC’. As is often the case with Mark tunes, a soup of droning industrial tones eventually gives way to a fidgeting, eerie drum ‘n’ bass roller - see his previous A Colorful Storm drops Here Comes A Fucking Startup Campus and Integrier Dich Du Yuppie for more on this front. However, Mark’s most poignant number on Split may well be the quietest. ‘Duet For Melodica And Claves’ is a track that does exactly what the title promises, a spare, mournful koan wending its way across three minutes. Dub, torch song and blues can all be parsed from the track’s campfire vibe, its folksy earthiness only serving to frame the radical potential of Split’s electronic tracks in sharper focus.
Christoph de Babalon and Mark’s Split sees two masters of dark, defiant industrial drum ‘n’ bass combine to create a set of brooding anti-anthems.