Ultra/Filth (Split Release)
Damascus Knives
Ratio Strain

This collab between LA’s Damascus Knives and San Diego’s Ratio Strain is just the ticket for those
in the mood for harsh rhythmic noise and grinding industrial beats. The first five tracks belong to Damascus Knives and would feel right at home in a cyberpunk noir thriller. The spoken-word soundbites allude to a CIA mind control experiment.

The Experimental Remix is stripped down and feels more synthwave to me than IDM, and that’s not a complaint.

Ultra’s title track has a four-on-the-floor beat that hypnotizes the listener while it envelopes with synth swells.

Psychic Driving has a slow intro before beats and arpeggios take over. Certain sounds made me think there’s a Middle Eastern musical influence at work. Like the name implies, imagine listening to this track while in the desert just at that moment when the Psilocybin kicks in.

Sick Mind has a keyboard line that drifts in and out of key and punchy vocals. The whole thing induces that state of mind that only exists when one is between sleep and waking and can’t tell the difference.

Ratio Strain is the brainchild of W.A.S.T.E. drummer Vanessa Engelfield and dominates “Side B” of this collection with “Filth”. The beats on Industrial Love Song clash seemingly by intention, which makes the beats all the more enticing, all while sound bites of a dominatrix suggest something naughty.

The spoken-word samples on the title track are harder to distinguish. I felt like I was getting cussed out by an android. The beats harken back to 80s-style IDM.

Fuel Injected Suicide Machine features W.A.S.T.E. and has a relentless 808 kick that takes me back to my days of sweating on a dancefloor so cramped you can make out the body odor.

While I hate to compare bands (but still do it all the time), the trippy beat on Kindness made me think of a dark Meat Beat Manifesto. Choral sounds loop in and out of the mix along with heavily-delayed voices. This track is my personal favorite.

Remixes by DJT_Roy and Lexx finish off this collection with additional fuel for the dancefloor.

While the beats are gritty, even downright harsh at times, there’s no shortage of danceability on this record. DJs will be spoiled for choice with these groovy gems.




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