Chainsaw – 5G4B (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It is safe to say that Chainsaw is like little that you have heard before. The various elements that it is built from may be vaguely familiar but the way those differing and disparate sonics are drawn together in one place is an experience like few you will have had in music. A fact that I can pretty much guarantee.  Those who like to tie things down, those who need to neatly label music into generic pigeon-holes, are going to have a tough time with this one, in fact it is easier to say what the track isn’t than what it is.

It isn’t quite an instrumental piece, the sparse vocal sounds and samples feel more like found audio than direct lyrical contact. It is certainly funky but not really what you might call funk music, if it is, then it is a future vision of what funk might be rather than an echo of what has gone before. It isn’t really hip-hop but the buoyant and confident beats and pulsing bass lines are certainly the sort of sound that you could build such a song on. It eschews conventional lyrics but the few vocal salvos say more than many artists do in a whole album. It is built around EDM grooves but feels like the sort of music that would be found in the most underground, avant-garde and exclusive locations somewhere on the periphery of clubland.

So we know what it isn’t, but what is it? Well, adventurous for one thing, not so much genre-hopping, more genre-blind, or at least wilfully ignoring the rules. Which is as it should be. It is infectious and beguiling, but at over 11 minutes long is certainly the sort of song which is more about getting lost in and letting it wash over you than something you might merely dance too. 5G4B think much bigger than that, for sure. It is hypnotic, almost to the point of being meditative, though with the main solo instrument the sound of a chainsaw being revved into action, it is intense and slightly disturbing rather than contemplative and soothing.

It is perhaps only in the modern, post-genre world that we find ourselves in that such music can thrive. Now that the tribalism of the past has been replaced by the healthy notion that music should be crafted out of anything and everything that an artist finds appealing and technology giving us the tools to do so, Chainsaw sounds like a heady sonic charge into a bright new future. The fact that 400 words into this review and I still don’t feel that I have come close to defining what is at the heart of this track in particular, or even 5G4B in general, just shows you how “out there”, how far head of the curve, how much in a league of their own they are and tells you everything you need to know about where they sit in the modern musical landscape.

Just play the track and make your own mind up. I can guarantee that you will come to completely different conclusions than I have…and that is what is so brilliant about this odd, outsider, groovesome and great sonic feast.

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