Music Reviews



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Artist: Locrian (@)
Title: Territories
Format: 12"
Label: At War With False Noise (@)
Rated: *****
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but in this case it took a village to release this album. This album seems to have been released by four different labels: At War With False Noise, Basses Frequences, BloodLust!, and Small Doses. Evidently this is an LP, but I got a CDR version of it, so I can say little about the packaging for the vinyl fetishists out there. I think that I have become the resident Locrian expert, having reviewed several of their releases for ChainDLK at this point. Overall, I think that this is the best album Locrian has put out so far. Where some of the others have been too minimalist for my taste, this one has a lot more variety. For example, the disc opens with 'Inverted Ruins,' which is everything that you would expect from this band'guitar noise and feedback. But then it shifts into 'Between Barrows,' which is a droning, atmospheric piece that features organ. However, I have to admit that 'Procession of Ancestral Brutalism' sounded too much like a metal band trying to be experimental. But 'Ring Road' brings us back into the realm of brooding, ominous atmosphere and the rest of the album continues this trajectory, although 'The Columnless Arcade' briefly slips into metal mode. Even so, the second half of the disc is Locrian at their best'dark, atmospheric, and heavy. This album is limited to 500 copies, so you will probably want to get it while you can. The album weighs in at around 48 minutes.
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Artist: The Bodies Obtained (@)
Title: Dead Plans
Format: CD
Label: Finding You Attractive
Rated: *****
I previously reviewed The Bodies Obtained's 'From the Top of My Tree,' and was not very impressed, partly because they compared them to the Residents and brought Throbbing Gristle into the mix. This time, thankfully, the promo sheet resists such tenuous connections, choosing rather to describe it as 'residing in a space where experimental noise and music find common ground ' think melodic dissonance.' I can get behind this description, although for readers of Chain DLK the term 'noise' has significantly different expectations. You will not find anything like Merzbow here, so move along if that's what you are looking for. That said, I think that my original comparison to the Legendary Pink Dots still holds. This is darkly amusing, almost poppy kind of music. For example, 'She Wants What She Wants' begins with the words 'She wants the itch of your crotch.' The music is a mishmash of funhouse organ and distorted voice. You can tell that you are in for a weird ride from the very beginning. Overall, I found this album to be much stronger than the predecessor and a good time. This is not exactly feel good music, but it is enjoyable in the same way looking at a car wreck is enjoyable ' you know you should stop looking but the scene is so compelling. This disc weighs in at 39 minutes.
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Artist: Ben Frost (@)
Title: By the Throat
Format: CD
Label: Bedroom Community (@)
Distributor: Kompakt
Rated: *****
I had not heard of Ben Frost before this disc came in the mail. This can best be described as electronic, although I would not compare it to the Orb or such, but rather, this has an experimental edge to it. At times it is glitch and noisy, while at others, peaceful and droning. I found it interesting that the last three songs take their titles from the lyrics of 'Disintegration' by the Cure, although none of them seem to have anything to do with that song (Peter Venkman does seem like it would be at home on a Ghostbusters soundtrack though). From the very beginning it is clear that this is not going to be just an easy listening album with the track 'Killshot' that has crescendoing pulses of music interwoven with strings. 'The Carpathians' has an unsettling claustrophobic feel to it that immediately gives way to the stripped down minimalism of 'O God Protect Me,' which in turn transitions to the noisiness of 'Híbakúsja.' 'Leo Needs a New Pair of Shoes' is perhaps the most traditional song on this disc, sounding like something off a Narada sampler. Overall, this was a pretty good introduction to this artist and if you have someone who likes their experimental music not too experimental, this would certainly be worth checking out.
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Artist: The Infant Cycle (@)
Title: Secret Hidden Message
Format: 7"
Label: Drone Records (@)
Rated: *****
Jim DeJong has been putting out music under the moniker The Infant Cycle since 1992, but I have to admit that I had not heard much from him. The label describes this as 'hypnotic drone-circles from Canada using tons of instrumental sound-sources.' And they aren't kidding about the sources, which are listed in the notes and include guitar, cookery, carved playout groove, marimba, bird cage, wind chimes, concocted field recording, electronic organ, and trombone. Not that you would be able to recognize any of these elements in the music. All of these tracks are pleasant drones (did you expect anything else from the label?) that all slowly evolve. 'Secret Hidden Message' combines shimmering drone with rhythm and random noises throughout that if you blink you will miss them. It ends suddenly with about a second of pounding percussion. '(And Then The Dog Replied)' follows a similar trajectory, although with a bit harder edge to it and more dissonance. But side B, simply titled 'Trombone' is where he really shines. The fact that the only sound source is a trombone is a testament to his skill at sound manipulation. It almost sounds like two interconnected tracks. At first it is a bit chaotic and noisy as it lurches along. Where side A seemed much more composed, this has a sense of randomness to it. But then is shifts and slowly builds from calm drones to an almost ominous sounding bass drone with high pitched cries from the trombone. All in all, a good addition to the Drone roster. Limited to 300 in translucent grey vinyl.
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Artist: Promonium Jesters / Adaptive Reaction (@)
Title: Split
Format: 7"
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Adaptive Reaction is a two person outfit from Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada and claim to be 'an electronic based raw and sonic blender of old school electro beats, static and crashing ride glitchery, roaring analogue, and sear[ing] vocals.' Well, kind of. Both of these tracks can best be described as industrial punk. Even the fact that the songs weigh in at 1.38 and 1.59 tells you something (although I think that S.O.D. with their two second songs were the masters of brevity). Quite nice though, with a heavy urgency to the songs. Promonium Jesters hail from Uxbridge, Ontario Canada and 'play psychedelic industrial thrash music, incorporating elements of metal, noise, ambient, trance, and digital hardcore with a heavy emphasis on experimentation.' Fair enough, although I didn't get a whole lot of noise here despite the fact that they have performed with Merzbow. I must admit that this track was a lot of fun. There is a lot going on, but it still hangs together. Where Adaptive Reaction seems to have its roots in old school punk, Promonium Jesters seems to draw its inspiration from Ministry and the DTrash roster. Not bad ' I'll bet they both put on one hell of a show. Overall, I would like to hear more from both, which is always a good thing with a 7' split. If you want a digital version instead, you can get it for $2.00 at Promonium Jester's site.
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