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A Magazine for Sheffield

Porter Brook Lipsius

Sheffield’s low-end heritage seeps through the pores of Porter Brook’s latest EP, as tension dominates with only a few moments of well-timed relief.

Released: 31 March 2023

Sonically, Lipsius keeps things extremely low. The driving force of each track comes from a spookily ill-defined kick and a warm, throbbing bass. Occasionally, and often when it feels like it’s most needed, high-end rhythmic fragments are dripped over the top to ensure that things, while gloomy and introspective, are always peering outwards. Brook’s sound may be steeped in the history of Sheffield's love affair with bass, but this record has one hand grasping towards a more experimental future.

Opener 'Trakt II' walks a tightrope between a ghostly optimism and a heavy, down-in-the-muck pragmatism. Members of an agreeable crowd would oscillate between looking up towards the heavens and forcing their chins down, diligently marching to an unwavering beat.

'Second Shift', meanwhile, offers the EP’s closest alignment with harmony, where a whale-like drone feels oddly welcoming despite its clearly unsettling tone. With the rhythm sections of Lipsius determined only to move things forward, a dull glow like this one helps to proffer some sort of embrace, a touching reminder of home from the vast, dark and unfamiliar world the record sits within.

While the drops of what is ostensibly a dance music EP may not give your average reach-for-the-lasers gurner much to chew on, they each help to prop up a sense that something bigger and deeper might soon arrive. The drum break in aptly-named closer 'Final Call' seems to be that arrival. Like a shower, the refreshing snares and trickling hi-hats bathe this release in a seal of approval, as if this sound of liberation was the plan all along.