EP Review: Scalping // FLOOD

Combining dance and rock with an intensity rarely seen these days, Scalping’s FLOOD EP sees the Bristolians try condense their energy on record

Bristol’s Scalping bring a physicality to FLOOD that resonates deeply with the music of their city. Their live sound comprises of acoustic drums, guitar and bass, but with sequenced synths that we, at least, have only ever heard on record. They break through the status-quo of guitar music with projector-screen visuals and sub-bass that you might find at 3AM in Bristol’s Lakota.

Following on from a series of strong single releases, including ‘Chamber’ and ‘Ruptured’, but particularly the enigmatic ‘Satan II’ (with equally confusing video), Scalping have developed a fiery discography of techno-infused art-rock. The drummer has the tightness of midi, but the live element brings a certain energy and loosenesses that is characteristic of post-punk. Perhaps the only comparable act are fellow Bristolians Giant Swan, but even that is a stretch. The fusion of industrial, Death Grips-esc synths with grotesquely distorted guitars brings a brutality that is irrevocable.

The singles from this EP, ‘Monolithium’ and ‘Empty Cascade’, are visceral. All the songs on this EP, in fact, create tension and excitement with relentless weight and bluntness. In some ways similar to The Prodigy, Scalping are both immanent and cut-throat. Their pure instrumentality is what tips this band, for some, into an ‘electronic’ category, with elevated kicks and snares contributing to a production style that could rightly be likened to Drum and Bass. But they are still hard to place.

This EP sees Scalping realise their live show in four brief but characterful tracks, that all, in typical Scalping fashion, stray from something like techno to some sort of funk-metal. This can be heard in their earlier singles. But where FLOOD breaks the norm for Scalping is in dynamics; they flow too easily from virtual silence to a completely encompassing wall of bass and synth. Particularly on ‘The Perimeter’, the fuzz guitar that kicks in at the 3:50 minute mark makes me excited to attend live music again.

If all goes to plan on the 19th July, Scalping’s tour with Squarepusher will be one not to miss.


FLOOD is released on the 18th June through label Houndstooth. Image courtesy of Jamie Harding & Matthew Sterling

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