Pale Sketcher may not exhibit the classically heavy Broadrick sound, but its crunching rhythms and smokey textures have more in common with the artist’s past than it may initially seem. Broadrick has
been playing with software since Techno Animal, his collaboration with UK dubstep producer Kevin Martin (The Bug / King Midas Sound), which was released on Mille Plateau / Force Inc. and Beastie Boys’ Grand Royale imprint throughout the ‘90s. Pale Sketcher, though, didn’t begin to manifest until the 2007 Jesu release Pale Sketches, which compiled an album’s-worth of tracks that didn’t quite fit the Jesu mold—skeletal, synthesizer-laced compositions that relied more on subtlety and atmosphere than guitar-based sturm und drang. While working on Jesu, Broadrick began tinkering with the songs on Pale Sketches, “de-mixing” them until they barely resembled their originals, forging a sound that was unlike anything in the Broadrick universe. He called this new sound, appropriately, Pale Sketcher.
Interestingly, as Broadrick has moved from more traditional signifiers of heaviness (aggression, guitars, volume) towards their opposites (melancholy, computers, texture) his music has only gotten deeper and more affecting. In that way, Pale Sketcher may be Broadrick’s heaviest work to date.