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When pioneering dubstep duo Vex'd spit in the mid '00s, Roly Porter turned his attention to his solo career. Wanting to break free from genre constraints, he abandoned beat oriented music altogether, and instead, began creating dark and often dramatic instrumentals that drew from post-classical influences, resembling at times pieces that could have easily fit on a sci-fi film score. Though his solo work is often regarded as a "growth" from his old group, the truth is, he never really abandoned the music he made with Vex'd. Despite being tied to dubstep, their music was a little more sprawling, dystopian, and abstract than that of their peers, characteristics that have been carried over and expanded on in his solo work.

His third album, Third Law, finds something of a middle ground between his more aggressive work with Vex'd and the experimental and atmospheric sound he has cultivated over his two previous albums. Porter is once again weaving beats back into his music, though you'd be hard pressed to call anything here "dance-friendly" unless, of course, you're into doing strange interpretive dances. At the heart of 'Mass'--which sounds like it's decaying in real-time with its warbling synths, symphonic strings, and choral harmonies giving off its final gasps of beauty--a pinging bouncing ball is looped continuously to an almost disorienting effect. Towards the end, drums are manipulated into sounding like a series of sudden and violent controlled explosions that snaps the listener back into reality; 'In Flight' pairs a viciously pounded piano with a barrage of turbulent kick drums, resulting in what might just be the most harrowing moment here.

Third Law spends its 53-minutes creeping into your head like a layer of rolling fog and filling it with a sense of uneasiness that builds gradually but is never fully resolved. Instead, Porter allows those feelings to linger, creating a sense of anxiousness that makes it a thrilling and occasionally terrifying experience. Not even when he seemingly eases up on the comparatively calmer 'In System' or 'Known Space' does the tension subside, if anything, these songs feel no less terrifying even without layers of bruising percussion rattling your nerves. But it's the conflict between tension and resolve, the contrast between beauty and ugliness, and the overall uncertainty that makes this such an interesting and enthralling experience, and also one of Porter's most startling and accomplished releases yet.

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