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Scalping Void Houndstooth


It was experiencing the ear-pummelling techno punk of Giant Swan live that inspired fellow Bristolians Scalping: “It was the first time I’d seen electronic music performed live with the energy of a punk band,” says member Alex Hill. The animating principle behind the four-piece is an attempt to capture that feeling; to marry the muscular physicality of noise rock with the body-surrendering highs of electronic music.

The pandemic could have undermined this goal. Their debut album, Void, necessitated a long-winded process of creation. First, they were forced to create their music on a computer, using recordings and samples of their instruments, but never once playing together. After that, they translated the tracks back into live performance. A kind of reverse engineering that seems at odds with their impulsive drive.The result is better than it sounds on paper. There’s more space here, more intricacy. The squelch of Caller Unknown bleeds into the menacing trip-hop-wrapped-in-barbed-wire of Tether, featuring Oakland rapper DÆMON. But the album soon gains pace; the run of Silhouettes into Cloak & Dagger pulses with swaggering velocity, recalling HEALTH at their finest.

By the time the record climaxes with Remain in Stasis, which features Bristol-based artist Grove, and sounds like a dance-metal version of Public Image Ltd beamed in from the future, there is no doubt they’ve accomplished their mission. Void is a record that writhes, contorts and throbs like a live show. Claustrophobic yet huge – it’s the sound of a rave crammed into a sticky, dark basement.