“Dank Hell” C30

Leisure Service, aka Michael Pierce, is a tricky customer. Maybe you read into things like record sleeves – or in this case J-cards – and book covers, and you think you’ve got something pinned down, only to find yourself not only wrong but dead wrong, face down in puddle of goo, wishing you hadn’t fully prepared yourself for an eventuality that existed only in your mind. That’s me right now – pushing myself up to free myself and especially my face from all this goo!

Dank Hell sounds like a slog. Doesn’t it? Maybe a miasma of power electronics awaits the listener. Four lengthy deep dives into harsh noise wall with no escape at the other end. Track titles reading like recipes from the nihilist’s cookbook: “Satan’s Sulphur” and “Human Intention” and “Which Strain” and the title track. But guess what? All that potential negativity is released into the recesses of imagination as soon as the play button is smashed and the ominous synth squiggles of “Satan’s Sulphur” gain their crispy beatwork, electronic pulses with the head-nodding intensity of, dare I say, a Wax Trax! revival festival? Oh – oh my, I can’t believe my ears. This makes me … what’s the word? Happy? Happy. That’s it. Feet moving, bass grooving. I mean, seriously, “Which Strain” would probably find itself at home on Daft Punk’s Homework, and that’s a pretty fantastic place to find oneself at home.

It’s not all sunshine and lollipops – and actually, there is very little sunshine and there are very few lollipops, it’s just that the relative lack of unremitting black evil kind of puts the nice stuff in relief – and, in fact, “Dank Hell” the song is a subterranean, nocturnal, introverted, [insert-similar-adjective here] dub minefield stretching almost nine minutes until the density of its bass causes the track to collapse in upon itself, bubbling out of existence. Still catchy, but certainly shadowed by its sinister intentions. But Dank Hell the tape is a fantastic listen for even the most casual of electronic music fans, a portal into a dimension where mood meets accessibility and everyone’s a moon orbiting the righteous musical quasar that is Leisure Service, at least until Michael Pierce gets tired and needs to hit the hay.


-- Ryan Masteller