Arriving on East London based label Robot Elephant Records, to call F8stercare and Ritualz a duo is perhaps an overstatement. Apart from remixing one of each other’s songs, there is nothing to suggest a serious collaboration between the two artists. They may be getting cosy on the same piece of vinyl but this album is very much punctuated. F8stercare, a.k.a. Marc Jason, is distinct if nothing else. Flirting with the more downbeat side of hip hop and industrial, he brandishes some pessimistic lyrics while adamantly keeping to the shadows. On the ultimate quest for a unique sound, Jason seems to have forgotten to concentrate on making some actually decent tunes. Sure, his sound is uncommon but the end product is just too abrasive. Tracks like ‘Low’ and ‘Queen’ could be labeled as fresh sounding at first but a few more listens reveal them as quite stale and pretentious.
Ritualz seems to be flying a fairly similar flag to Jason, which is assumedly why they’re sharing an album. Their influences are no doubt of a comparable nature. Elements of Pictureplane and oOoOO shine through the cracks of both artists, but Ritualz still retains a more upbeat tone to his music. There’s aspects of trance woven into all of Ritualz tracks, especially ‘III’, which is probably one of the more accessible tunes on the album. Yet, in the same way that F8stercare’s distinctiveness is no substitute for quality, Ritualz’s accessibility doesn’t outweigh his drabness.
At the moment F8stercare seems to be trying to fight his way out of witch house with an indie sword and a hip hop shield that’s smaller than his fists, while Ritualz is only scratching the surface of electronic music. Both artists do have some potential hidden under all the eerie tones and wayward beats, dormant but detectable, but this album is severely lacking in flow and fails to hold any serious interest.