Prolific Canadian producer E. Coli releases music under a slew of different names, including Strider, Ice Breathing, Nervous, and The Druids, but his main sonic outlet is Contra. On his first professionally released CD, Contra takes hard breakbeats and drum 'n' bass rhythms and drenches them in chaos, distortion and samples. Despite the clinical precision with which he chops and splices beats and samples, E. Coli's compositions are anything but clinical; "Biotapestry X" opens this album with a swampy morass of gurgling, static, and unintelligible bits of conversation, and "In the Bloodstream" uses flattened, almost wooden-sounding percussion loops for an almost tribal vibe, at least until the orchestral synths and piano loops make their appearance. While Contra's music is heavily dependent on the manipulation of rhythm, it's rarely club-friendly; apart from "Slime," which could probably slip unnoticed into a power noise DJ's set list, these rhythms are too frantic for dancing in the conventional sense. Even when simpler rhythms appear, as on the ominous stomp of "Faiths in Decline," they rarely stick around long enough to establish a solid groove, instead leaping for cover in the face of grating feedback squeals or wildly pulsating analog tones. For all its intensity, Contra's music has a certain cerebral quality, rewarding a careful listen with occasionally recognizable bits of classical pieces or comedic samples. Fans of such acts as Venetian Snares or Hecate will especially appreciate Contra's abrasive approach to rhythmic complexity.
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