Music Reviews

Artist: Fe (@)
Title: Sucker Mule's Dreadful Murder
Format: 12"
Label: Suitcase AudioVisual (@)
Rated: *****
Fe-male Fou is Italian artist Filomena Rubino, formerly of Rome, Italy, now relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. She began this project in 2013, and the music is dissonant atonal avant garde guitar and voice using ambient drones, lo-fi melodies, and likely lots of electronic processing. Previously she's had a string of CDr releases and cassettes, but this limited (to 300) vinyl release might be construed as Fe-male Fou's first official release. Once you get past the abrasive "nails on a chalkboard" opener "Pagan Revelry," the songs on the A-side of this album are a strange mix of improvised sing-song psychedelia with Velvet Underground drones and Alice down the rabbit hole vocals. It's a nightmare vision that penetrates deep into your psyche, far more frightening than any horror flick you may have seen recently. Fe-male Fou's guitar style is rudimentary but twisted into some gordian knot for which there is no solution. The more you listen to it, the more intriguing it becomes. I shudder to think what this might sound like on hallucinogenics.

While side the A-side is kind of a no-wave extravaganza, the B-side is far more industrial and noise-oriented. In some ways it is reminiscent of Lou Reed's 'Metal Machine Music,' or parts of it anyway. Rubino's looping techniques are an essential component to the compositions on this side, especially "Slaughterhouse Overdose," and the lo-fi methods of achieving Fe-male Fou's sound produces results that probably couldn't have been done any other way. Rubino's voice, where used on this side seems to blend in as an instrument, perhaps more for effect than anything else. For industrial noise, these pieces aren't quite as abrasive as you might think, and become an ambient sound sculpture that sounds cohesive and powerful in its own right. Sometimes lurching, sometimes slithering and oozing, it's like a demonic train headed for an unspeakable destination. I found that listening to it from a distance (in another room) actually seemd to enhance the audial experience rather than confronting it head on.

Because of its diversity, unusual nature, and released on limited vinyl, I do believe Fe-male Fou's 'Sucker Mule's Dreadful Murder' is destined to become a collector's item. If this intrigues you, you better hurry up and purchase a copy before they're all gone.

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