Having generated a certain amount of buzz through his previous two digital-only albums and his association with tastemakers Quantum Natives (who re-released his second album POPULOUS on their Hemlock Recordings label in 2014), third album DAZE effectively sets the scene for a major breakthrough by Brood Ma, alias of London-based musician James B Stringer.
Difficult to pin down genre-wise, DAZE flirts with post-industrial, noise, dubstep and electro-punk, but finds Stringer pursuing a vision all his own — one of dystopian war and destruction, the aural equivalents of billowing smoke and crumbling buildings exploding in your headphones. This is an album light on melody and heavy on tone and mood, and it's dark throughout, Stringer manages to render it in enough distinct shades to make it an exciting, if austere, listen.
Oddly enough, the album begins with the cheerful chirping of birds, but soon gives way to what sounds like a processed cloud of flies before the synths of "Be Yourself" start wailing like a slow motion emergency siren. The entire album sounds like the kind of digital doomsday declaration Alec Empire would be proud of, but it's summed up best by centerpiece "Molten Brownian Motion," which evokes the sound of falling bombs to drive its pounding beat.
Brood Ma's vision of the future may be dark, but on the challenging, rewarding DAZE, his future as a purveyor of its soundtrack is all but secured. (Tri-angle Records)