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JK Flesh - Posthuman

The JK Flesh moniker may be familiar from Justin Broadrick's work with Kevin Martin (or K-Mart as he is known on these releases) as Techno Animal, The Sidewinder and Curse of the Golden Vampire. Posthuman marks the first solo release from Justin Broadrick as JK Flesh, a pseudonym cast upon him by Kevin Martin. While, in these post-Techno Animal times, Kevin Martin has forged a career as the brains behind the dancehall dub project King Midas Sound - and pretty good it is too. Justin Broadrick, meanwhile, has been producing moody, melancholic work as Jesu and as Palesketcher. Justin Broadrick is such a prolific composer he's hard to pin down but in the recent past he's reformed Godflesh, worked on the brutal power noise collaboration Grey Machine (with Aaron Turner (Isis), Dermot Dalton (Jesu) and Dave Cochrane (Ice)), and on the guitar noise project Valley of Fear (with members of Skullflower). And while all these projects could be considered a reaction to the introspective work of Jesu, Posthuman seems to tap into the brutal confrontational aspect of these latter projects while bridging the gap between Techno Animal and Godflesh. In any case that JK Flesh pseudonym generally reflected dark, abrasive electronics - and I'm thinking specifically here of Curse of the Golden Vampire and The Sidewinder with K-Mart in tow. Posthuman is rooted in rhythms and often in guitar noise and electronics. It also benefits from a clever running order, as if too much manipulated dancefloor rhythms might alienate the casual Broadrick listener. And it kinda does; as someone disposed to Broadrick's more aggressive work. So maybe it's of no surprise that the middle section of this that mutates dubstep and other contemporary rhythms doesn't grab me as much as it should but the material either side of this is pretty fucking good.

Posthuman kicks off with the lumbering, sludge pace of 'Knuckledragger' with electronics textures sinking into a pummelling slow paced rhythm bolstered by an ultra-low pulsing bass. Spidery detuned guitars weave their way around distorted and heavily processed vocals. There's a definite Godflesh feel to 'Idle Hands' with its deep abrasive metal riffing and distorted hollering even though its set against skittery hi-hat cymbal rhythms with an undertow of abrasive electronics. 'Punchdrunk' takes things further into noise realms: where reams of twisted, snarling guitar mannerisms merge with Broadrick's heavily distorted processed voice; creating another layer of electronic distortion to the dense, crushing dynamics. 'Devoured' is much more spacious with abrasive electronic throbs, recalling Techno Animal, and scissor-cut rhythms ensnared with sneering guitar lines.

It's not really until 'Posthuman' (and the run of following tracks) the beats takes precedence and the album moves into more rhythmic territory, stepping away from the noise and guitars. That's not to say they don't play their part, they do but the beats once buttressed now come to the fore. 'Posthuman' launches with a throbbing bass thud and stuttering clipped electronic rhythms before absorbing almost jungle/drum and bass rhythms before grasping onto a run of electronic rave sequences. With layers of electronic noise it's a fully charged assault of nightmare intensity.

There's little let-up from 'Earthmover' either. A heavily layered voice is set against electronic sequences and cymbal-heavy rhythm with mammoth quaking shudders. It's a bit more Techno Animal sounding but also a lot more fucked-up sounding. So too is 'Dogmatic' with its scorched hip-hop rhythms played off against elasticated electronics. JK Flesh's vocals are cut-up and shredded and the guitars make a return in the shape of a disembodied atmospheric squall.

The remaining tracks are sparser allowing Broadrick to take the guitars into much more desolate realms on the penultimate track 'Underfoot', while the closer, 'Walk Away' is carried by waves of Jesu-like guitars and an almost unadorned pleading vocal amidst massive quaking shudders bringing Posthuman to a close.

Like Mark Stewart's The Politics Of Envy a lot has been written about the dubstep rhythms found here as if there was a need to contextualise this within today's current sound. Who cares though, this is extreme and brutal stuff and if you've taken to his work in Techno Animal, Ice, or his more recent noise releases then Posthuman offers a more bass heavy, electronic and rhythmic version of his brutalised, noise vision that he's been pursuing recently. For more information go to