Likvidator – Tripping Over God

Written on September 2, 2019 by Ben Hudgins

I first came across Likvidator back in mid-2016 whilst reviewing an album he’d collaborated on. Upon investigation, I was struck by the diversity of his sound, as there were elements of illbient, dark hop, and noise littered across his freshman EP. Three years later, this Macedonian sound artist returns with his latest official offering, Tripping Over God.

A lot of these write ups come relatively easily to me. An artist will set a tone and stick to it throughout an album. Describe that vibe well enough and the review will write itself, easy-peasy. But I’m being honest when I say that I struggled with this one. Not because this isn’t a good record; it absolutely is. In fact, it’s a great record. Easy to describe, however, not so much.

Normally it’s frowned upon to do a track-by-track examination, but there’s a lot to cover here, even for a 5 track EP. You’ve got the drowning, dark ambient tones and sparse beats of “Murdock Can’t Swim” which then collapse into the shuffling, dubbed out atmospheres of “The Double Camshaft Work”, which are both rhythmic and cavernous.

There is a subtle Turkish influence across many of the tracks here, but these are especially pronounced on “Beheading The Pasha With His Wife”. This centerpiece (at least to me) is carried by a subtly processed baglama instrumental and some marvelously loping, polyrhythmic beats. This would be a suitable soundtrack for some film noir involving nocturnal skullduggery.

The odd, vocal-sample driven “Nightmares On The Other Side”, supported only by a crawling drone, then provides us with a brief and pleasantly weird interlude before the EP closes with the thumping “She Paused Because She Is Scared”, pulsating with more polyrhythms of heavy bass and various percussive instruments.

I suppose one could pigeonhole this outing as “dark hop” or “illbient”, but its more than that. It’s head-noddy, but also fractured. It’s dark and creepy, but also strangely warm. And that’s the rub. Frank Zappa famously said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture and that’s been the challenge for me here. Use too many words and the message is lost. Use too few and the richness of this (all too brief) release aren’t properly conveyed. As always, the best idea is to listen and make your own decision, but I can say that fans of darker, beat-oriented music will love this dusty gem.