Label of the Week: Eternal
That which is ETERNAL is, by its nature, without beginning or end.
Eternal, the label, had its beginning in 2017. Co-founded by Sydney experimental producers ptwiggs and Grasps, the label serves as an outlet to explore the darker realms of deconstructed electronic music within a club context. They also use it as a vehicle to throw club nights in Sydney, creating spaces for experimental club sounds that didn’t previously have many spaces to actually thrive in.
ptwiggs and Grasps are exceptional producers in their own right, occupying sonic spaces in Sydney that aren’t being explored by anyone else, so their coming together to provide this outlet to like-minded artists and audiences was a sorely needed one.
Eternal, the label kicked off the release aspect of the imprint last year with a compilation, ETERNAL 001. It’s 13 tracks of pure intensity, each track focusing on the careful construction of masterfully curated sounds and ideas, using audio effects to essentially recontextualise the sounds being used and in turn, creating alternate club music like no other. You can expect sounds ranging from ambient and drone to club and harsh noise and everything in between.
The term ‘deconstructed club music’ has been floating around for a while, the gist of it being exactly that; deconstructed. By changing the context in which the music is meant to be listened and bringing in unconventional elements, such as incorporating sounds and conventions from genres like nu-metal, the rigidity of structure and convention becomes lost through experimentation. Which is a good thing. It’s how new sounds become accessible and new ideas are built.
ETERNAL 001 kicks off with a collaborative track from ptwiggs and Grasps, ‘ETERNAL’. Aptly titled and even more aptly produced, it’s literally one huge amalgamation of the sounds and emotions you can expect to have thrust upon you during your time listening to this compilation. It’s the perfect introduction, leaving you curious as to what awaits around the corner.
French producer LUKANN contributes the second track, solidifying the importance of online communities and the hand they’ve had in cementing the vision of Eternal. ‘Home”s howling ambience never once becomes overwhelming, the tinkling of the light synth in the foreground and the whispering murmurs of unapparent sounds defining this one. Showcasing a lighter side to the label, Lukann‘s contribution is both stirring and affirming.
JZArector out of Melbourne comes in on track three, ‘High Deaf’, thrusting industrial tones ontop of silence, using the two in tandem to create space. Also out of Melbourne, experimental producer CORIN comes in for track four, ‘Elevate’, contributing post-Y2K dystopian soundscapes built atop crunchy, blasting percussion.
Sydney’s Marcus Whale contributes ‘Lila’ under his marcus (not singing) moniker, delivering punchy club percussion complete with stabby kicks and metallic claps. Choral keys bring in the melody and are juxtaposed with long, booming, Inception-esque bouts of distorted pads.
Mackeeper out of Sydney brings it down on ‘lgj2jMZ’, bringing vocal found sounds into pools of aquatic samples and letting them swim. AYAX comes blasting in with a punchy, deep club cut in ‘Willow’, contrasting an ethereal atmosphere with rapid-fire pumping percussion.
Lisbon-based Asio Otus teams up with GYUR for ‘Druidism’, contrasting light plucked guitar sequences with crunchy, dense samples and panning the sounds to create fluid, textured movement. MRTRY programs chaotic percussive sequences over harmonic chords for machine madness on ‘PAPRIKA’.
Tokyo-based artist WA?STE is ‘Crying Outside’, pairing ice-cream truck synths with emotional strings, punchy percussion and one of the most full-bodied, chaotic soundscapes on the record. On track 11, IN MY TALONS puts conversive samples atop a chamber choir, later bringing hip-hop samples atop a beautifully laid piano. ‘Cherubim’ is honestly a massive journey, taking you through various musical genres and moods all in the space of five and a bit minutes.
CELES7E brings it to a head on ‘A MISERABLE FATE’, pumping the intensity up to a million and delivering elegantly crafted harsh noise. g•£•ø•m•€•†•€•r rounds the release out with ‘Five Aggregates’, simmering it all down and taking us out with shimmering pans, whispers and echoes and leaving us with a feeling of satisfaction.
The first compilation from the Eternal team sparks discussion surrounding the sore need for labels and spaces that offer underground communities the chance to not only thrive, but to actually be fostered and created in the first place.
The label’s second release came to us last year from compilation contributor GYUR, an EP titled PROUS. With an insanely detailed artwork on the cover from Nicholas Zhu, the machine, AI imagery sets a precedence of what’s to come.
The five-track EP from the Portugese experimental artist tears through tradition and creates something new altogether. Opener ‘drwn’ throws us into an onslaught of metallic crushes and pounding rhythms that don’t need to be quantised. The rhythmic dissonance paints a picture of both sparseness and relentless energy that transcends traditional club music.
‘h-serc’ crunches together digital pockets of hi-energy phrases, delivering them as tight punches rather than a relentless onslaught. The moments of silence in this are just as important as the moments of richness, allowing for intensity and recovery. ‘pull’ lives up to its name, with propelling energy and a tendency to really pull that tempo right up and down.
‘GBF’ plays with crunchier sounds, while closer ‘troch’ brings in drawling chords atop piston-like percussion to bring it all to a head.
The EP serves as an excellent indicator of the diversity of sound both explored and appreciated by Eternal. Where the compilation had moments of sonic intensity, it’s important to note that it also had moments of quiet clarity too. The addition of GYUR‘s PROUS EP to the Eternal back catalogue is an important one in highlighting the scope and breadth of their coverage and if anything, it’s leaving us wondering what their next step is going to be.
Graphic by Ghaaro
Words by CAITLIN MEDCALF