xin’s debut album, Melts into Love, repurposes the tropes of abrasive genres like dubstep, hardcore, and d’n’b to bewildering effect. These ten interlocked compositions accentuate the physical impact of the referenced genres while dissolving the grids and structures that anchor them. It’s as if the bloodlust I felt at sixteen listening to hyper-aggressive dubstep aged into something deeply sensual and delirious.
The titular “Melts” is certainly a keyword here; the record moves with the diffuse intentionality of a swamp or a ring of fungus, breaking down reese baselines and wavetable yelps until they become aural mold creeping across the stereo field.
Another keyword from the album’s title: love. Here, love doesn’t indicate romance or devotion as much it indicates proximity, the sticky intimacy of a relationship which has become symbiotic. The tracks here mutate sluggishly into one another; the hissing, percussive “Myopia” morphs into granular layers of sloshing choirs on stand-out track “Spent, Wasted, and Saved”. In turn, these submerged voices fold in on themselves to form impossibly steep waves of percolating synths and pulsing sub-bass. Love, in xin’s world, is morbid fusion: a frozen point in a GAN’s transition between a human face and an urban intersection.
Although Melts into Love may loosely fit within the “deconstructed club” tag, a more accurate descriptor would be pulverized. Where as most works in this genre (if we can even call it that) reference club music to ironic or intellectual effect, xin merely uses sonic references as the initial scoby in a noxious fermentation. These densely layered mood pieces occasionally reveal a familiar sound, like signposts in a strange, ever-shifting land. xin’s objective is not to evolve club music further, but rather to assist the growth of something alien in its rot. In this way, the album (although sonically bleak) represents a strange sort of optimism.
Much has been made of the cynicism and weariness that accompanies stylistic deconstruction, but works like this remind us that deconstruction is only the initial step in a process that can occasionally yield something deeply potent and imaginative.