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Stray & Halogenix - The Pursuit / Poison

Stray & Halogenix – The Pursuit / Poison
Jack Smith

Watching Halogenix’s rapid ascent within the scene in 2012 has been eerily similar to Stray’s emergence in 2009: both came out of nowhere with exciting debuts, both had breathtakingly original releases on Kasra’s Critical Music, both have considered, faultless discographies at this early stage of their careers… it would seem this parallelism and time would eventually bring the two together. Oblique’s wild success only further enhanced the worth of their compact yet explicit, subtle yet immediately appealing oeuvre of work, so it is with no great surprise that their next release should appear on a label committed to vibrant variety and processed simplicity with a guaranteed, uniform quality of sound: Texas’ very own Warm Communications, who present the irregular and meticulous The Pursuit / Poison.

The Pursuit introduces omnipresent, whispering stabs and echoing sirens to scattergun, skeletal percussion in its opening. The body of the track plunges into sub-depths with an analog bassline drone like no other, at once both contemplative and hazardous. Rounded off with some unrecognisable vocal cuts and Stray’s distinct brand of amen fills, The Pursuit champions the threadbare yet no less venomous assault we expect from the likes of Data and Overlook.

Whilst continuing the submarine-esque themes of the A-side, Poison deconstructs the customary with an unpredictable take on concentrated danger. The track challenges the listener to identify its clever Noah’s Arc effect – a kick-snare sum of parts paired together to create a directly arresting arrangement at the first drop – whilst lacing the construction with growling mid swipes and flickering horns. The second drop presents the other end of the double-edged sword, dropping the elusive vocals in favour of a perhaps more shuffle-friendly, albeit no less engaging, rollout of the two.

To repeat myself and say that this new breed of minimal precision takes influence from Rockwell’s early work would be a huge disservice to Stray and Halogenix’s individual capabilities. For the former, like UnderpassTimbre was years ahead of its time, an enigmatic precursor to the degree of dark sonic-precision we would be hearing in 2012. An indefinable, kaleidoscopic producer – First Dream Called Ocean Remix vs. Raising The Bar Remix being one of many examples – paired with the latter’s refreshingly fine-tuned excellence: these two are genuinely setting benchmarks wherever they turn, and it’d be foolish not to embrace this creative, unrestricted release with open arms.

The Pursuit / Poison is out now on Warm Communications.


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