Music Reviews

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Artist: Compactor (@)
Title: Technology Worship
Format: CD
Label: Oppressive Resistance Recordings
Rated: *****
Who is Compactor? The website explains that “Compactor is an interconnected set of machinery that is manipulated by an anonymous figure known as The Worker under orders from faceless corporation Waste MGT. Industrial, Noise, Techno, and other related sonics are crushed into something else. The project uses mostly obsolete equipment, which is set up, broken down and maintained by System Administrator Derek Rush.” Yes, that Derek Rush, of Chthonic Streams, Dream Into Dust, and for those on Facebook, the man behind the hilarious HNW Memes group. This should give you some insight into what you’re in for. First off, let’s get this out of the way. Buy this album. If you like noise, you need to just get this. I have been recording and listening to noise music for two decades now, and there are very few albums that blew me away like this one. This was not just enjoyable listening, but also inspiring to me as a musician. The rest of this review will just be more about why you need this album. First off, the liner notes frame this work with “Terms of Service” like “Long Distance Rage: Thou shalt cultivate greater irrational anger towards thy neighbors whom thou never see’est in the flesh (Externals 20.2).” In much of this, Rush seems to be channeling the eminent media theorist and critic Neil Postman, with his skepticism of technological advancement. Now on to the music. “Ease Of Use” kicks it off with heavy plodding beats and digital noise. This is pure industrial; factory music for the digital age. “Autonomous” is what you hear when the machines are no longer in spec. Grinding noise over the chugging sound of a gas-powered generator. “Cellular Degradation” is a nice mix of high-end crackling and low rumbling bass, as the sound of bottle rockets and analog sweeps blast through. In “Timeloss,” a relentless beat scrapes over a low-pitched static tone, as a variety of noise blasts enter the scene, only to leave as quickly as they entered. Just when you think it is over, it rattles your speakers with bass and piercing analog sweeps. “Interconnected-Isolated” starts off with dial-up modem noise before hammering you with overdriven bass as the modem continues to peek through. It all dissolves into an almost subdued throbbing bass tone. “Long Distance Rage” is pure, grinding, staticy noise, once again giving us a good mix of high and low range. “Vaporware” is more subdued and atmospheric. This is the point in the soundtrack where the protagonist discovers the robot uprising plot, building until the climactic moment when the protagonist is suddenly discovered. “Unclean Power” is pulsing waves of noise that has an almost hypnotic quality. This also collapses in on itself with harsh noise squalls and rumbling bass. “Screen Hypnosis” is a short track of subdued crackling sound, which is almost peaceful by comparison. Finally, “Church Of Virtual Reality” illustrates how what is not done can sometimes be more important than having a overwhelming wall of noise. There is a good use of dynamics and silence here, with bubbling noise that is punctuated by pounding thuds. Overall, the compositions are wonderfully complex, with a clear attention to detail. This is well worth getting for noise fans. This album weighs in at around 65 minutes.



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