UK electronic duo Ivy Lab make the unsettling accessible on Death Don't Always Taste Good | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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UK electronic duo Ivy Lab make the unsettling accessible on Death Don't Always Taste Good


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As Ivy Lab, London producers Gove “Sabre” Kidao and J “Stray” Fogel are associated with UK bass—an ambiguous melange of British-born electronic subgenres: drum 'n' bass, UK garage, dubstep, and a little bit of grime. But Ivy Lab don’t make that style of music as much as they thoroughly distort it; on 2015’s 20/20, Vol. 1, recorded when producer Laurence “Halogenix” Reading was a member of the group, they seem to slow their UK bass down with cement bricks—eliciting slow, mutant groans and unexpected bass drops. But on May’s Death Don’t Always Taste Good (20/20 LDN Recordings), they shed some of their earlier supersize affectations, that I can only describe as American: big, plodding, and incorrigible. The new album has more obvious hooks and the kind of thorny, gnashing multilayered production that makes it sound like a mutant instrumental hip-hop collection. Perhaps some inspired MCs will try to rhyme over, say, the kitchen-sink clatter of “Snack Time,” but it’ll take a visceral performance to stand out against Ivy Lab’s unsettling collage.   v

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