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Surrender is the debut full length from DJ, producer, and songwriter Endgame. Stepping out for the first time as a vocalist, and lyricist, Surrender is his most ambitious and vulnerable work to date; a striking statement of intent, with moments of beauty and brutality.
Endgame has carved an iconoclastic niche in club culture. Breaking into the scene as co-founder of the legendary collective Bala Club, and resident of the radical club-night Endless. Whilst continuing almost a decade hosting his infamous NTS radioshow (and now label) Precious Metals, he has forged a path against the tide of formulaic club music. A visionary DJ and producer, Surrender sees Endgame continue this trajectory, with a project that both amplifies the ferocious club constructions he's known for, whilst making space to open up wounded memories and with sombre unfeigned requiems.
Having previously released records on Hyperdub, PTP, Golden Mist and Infinite Machine, Endgame's first release on his own Precious Metals imprint, is him at his most reflective. Surrender is a deeply personal record, about loss and finding meaning in despair. Death is a prevailing theme, with the passing of his father a totemic subject. The recollection of his father's torturous final moments leaves him to mournfully contemplate temporality. Using this sense of anguish, he blurs reality - creating a world where angels and demons are among us in a decaying cityscape; akin to the work of Todd McFarlane.
The opener Faithless, propels us into this world, with the slow build of industrial precision amidst the sombre build of harsh melodic synths. We descend deeper into this vision with Barbed Heart, featuring a defining vocal from scene staple and long time collaborator Yayoyanoh, as 808's and skittering hi hats ricochet off one another beneath his bass driven vocal. No Heroes continues our journey into the unknown with a chaotic rush of acidic riffs, pounding percussion, and a reference to the brutalist anthem from hardcore punk band Converge (where the track borrows its name).
Requiem acts as the turning point of the record as Endgame steps into the foreground as a vocalist. As the name suggests, this lament is a sombre reflection of grief; its minimalist instrumental allows Endgame's haunted verse to rise into the foreground, like an apparition amidst the smoke in the depths of a dimly lit club. The dark clouds fade into the distance in Exhumed, as the elegant melancholic vocal of Bala Club affiliate and gifted vocalist Organ Tapes reflects off Endgame's sanguine verses bringing hope into the heartfelt instrumental filled with melodic flourishes and bass-bin rattling subs.
The thematic haze thickens in Abyss, as the pulsating and doom laden instrumental interweaves with Endgame's sepulchral vocal. Like a message from the void, his words act as an agnostic hymn that pulls apart his sense of self. The contrast of his plaintive verse with the intensity of the instrumental creates a contrast that is symbolic of the record itself, a duality that presents moments of soft reflection against a severe sonic palette to create moments of transcendence.
2. Barbed Heart ft Yayoyanoh
3. The Shadow of Death
4. No Heroes
7. Exhumed ft Organ Tapes
£19.99Precious Metals are excited to announce "Chaos Butterfly", the debut album from the Vietnamese-Canadian electronic music producer, vocalist and filmmaker, x/o.Visit product page →
"Chaos Butterfly" is an epic tale of catharsis and self-actualization explored through metamorphosis. It is a free-falling kaleidoscopic journey into a beautiful nightmare, both cataclysmic and tender. Expanding on the themes present in their first EP "Cocoon Egg", the album builds a parallel world from a different perspective.
"Chaos Butterfly" tells a loose narrative about an anti-hero navigating trauma through whirlwinds of grief and anger; a vengeful spirit who finds true strength in inner healing and forgiveness. An allegory for transcending societal concepts of gender, "Chaos Butterfly" is a journey of self-acceptance and reflection of x/o's own path towards their non-binary identity.
Throughout the voyage, x/o pulls apart and collides masculine and feminine tropes both theoretically and musically by utilising contrasts between soft and hard, internal and external, calmness and anger, loud and quiet. This system of symbolism and influences reveal a pattern that is the overarching theme of duality.
Colliding disparate but interconnected influences, x/o references Playstation 2's Final Fantasy X world-building, Fight Club, the half-yoma warriors in the anime Claymore, as well as the real legends of the Vietnamese Trung Sisters.
Musically, "Chaos Butterfly" resists easy categorisation, playfully fusing moments of reversed breakbeat, with elements of solemn ambience, distorted metal, and trip-hop catharsis, with inspiration from artists such as Yoko Kanno, to Bone Thugs-n-Harmony as well as Deftones, Massive Attack, Orbital, and Aaliyah.
The album journey begins with opener "Chrysalis Wrath", a prologue to the story, and emblematic of the metamorphosis of the album. A soft and unassuming exterior to the hard shell and bone that lies beneath. Delicately cascading melodies and disembodied vocals are torn asunder by a brooding, ominous synth, punctuated by blasts of percussion, like dark clouds forming on the horizon, the egg cracks; a foretelling of what is to come and a reference to what has been.
This is followed by "Red Alert" the first single from the release, which blends airy melancholic vocals with a flurry of drum breaks and synths plucks, an ambitious and cinematic exploration of intuition against recurring trauma. Melodies drifting and out of focus under the swirling vocal, like the blur of neon street lights reflecting in a rain-soaked cityscape. It's a liminal poem about listening to your inner voice to protect you from harm.
Duality is never more apparent than on "Promise : Armour" delicate piano melodies drift and settle like snowfall before crushing blows of hardstyle kicks blast through the ether, as their soulful, but anguished vocal harmony is overcome by a demonic refrain "Cross your heart, don’t cross me".
x/o is a founding member of s.M.i.L.e, a trail-blazing collective of like-minded artists in Vancouver pushing the boundaries of club experimentation, showcasing artists such as Actress, Hitmakerchinx, Mechatok, Nídia, and Shygirl.
This is an album that reaches dizzying heights, and in 2022 we expect x/o to do the exact same.
1. Chrysalis Wrath
2. Red Alert
3. Indigo Drop
4. Promise : Armour
5. Initiation Relic
6. Locking In
7. Fight or Flight
8. Cyclone Storm
9. Mirror Shard, Phoenix Down
10. Final Wingspan
11. Hea11ng ca11