Music Reviews

Artist: Suspicion Breeds Confidence (@)
Title: The Fauna and Flora of the Vatican City
Format: CD
Label: Gruenrekorder (@)
Rated: *****
First, a bit of self-disclosure. I have been familiar with Suspicion Breeds Confidence since he sent me a track for the Zaftig Research Christmas Compilation "Let it Snow!" back in 1999. I have followed his project ever since. Thus, I came at this disc with some anticipation and Schmitt does not disappoint. First, the obligatory comparisons. The card that came with the disc compares Suspicion Breeds Confidence to "Aphex Twin meets Mouse on Mars." The main ones that come to my mind are a more electronic version of Zoviet France’s "Loh Land," Rothkamm’s "Astronaut of Inner Space," and some of Coil’s older glitchier work.

This is a glitch-tastic album. Cut up field recordings meld with analogue bleeps and slightly broken beats with everything layered on top of a barely perceptible wash of drone. But this is not simply cut up music along the lines of Hafler Trio’s "Bang! An Open Letter." Rather, this disc seems intricately crafted and carefully constructed to get just the right bit in the right place like a sonic jigsaw puzzle. Plus, you have to love song titles like "Her Delicacy Shivered At The Absent Summer," "While Admiring The Quality Of Other People’s Lives They Probably Do Not Deserve," and "A Million Birds Should Know Something About Modesty." Of course, like most experimental albums, the song titles seem to have little to do with the content of the track itself.

This disc has a definite sense of unity. The only track that didn’t really work for me was "El Hipopótamo Crujiente." It became a bit too repetitive in tone, seeming to work mainly as an exercise in rhythm. Perhaps the standout track for me is "Willkommen Im Schachclub Plankton 2 (Kleiderordnung)" with its distorted voices and overall weirdness that sounds like circuit bending in your dreams.

If you have ever thought that there needs to be an experimental disc for beginners, this may be exactly what you are looking for. This is one of the more accessible experimental discs that I have heard in a while. That does not mean that it lacks in complexity, only that it is a bit less in your face in its weirdness. This disc weighs in at 75 minutes and is limited to 500 copies.

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