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Struggle & Emerge

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Album Review

Re:VIVE, an initiative of the Netherlands' Institute for Sound and Vision, sought Dara Smith and Ian McDonnell to produce a conceptual work, based on the theme of water, using their audio-video archive as a sample source. The duo obliged with Struggle & Emerge, released in 2016 as the third Lakker album. It incorporates the producers' own field recordings, as well as material from radio and television broadcasts. The Netherlands, by necessity, has a complex infrastructure for water control, so manipulations of rhythmic machinery are a natural component of the album. The sense of unease, punctuated with bursts of harsh noise, evoke the land's constant flood threat. "Maeslantkering Gating" grinds and batters with far more force than anything heard on the 2015 Lakker album Tundra. "Broken Clouds" is filled with bristling distortions that obscure an alarmed dispatch of some kind. Even when the pummeling recedes and gives way to muted whirrs and ghostly melodies, Struggle & Emerge is a bracing — sometimes stifling — album to absorb.


Formed: Dublin, Ireland

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

As Lakker, Berlin-based Dublin natives Dara Smith and Ian McDonnell started operating in the early 2000s for the release of largely tense, bass-heavy, experimental productions. They debuted in 2007 with Rudio, an album that ranged from solitary piano vignettes to bracing percussion barrages, issued on the Lazybird label. A few years passed prior to an assortment of more distinctive 2011-2014 EPs for labels such as Killekill, Blueprint, Stroboscopic Artefacts, and, most notably, Belgium's revered...
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Struggle & Emerge, Lakker
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