Thursday, April 15, 2021
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Contrastate: Recorded Evidence II

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Artist: Contrastate (@)
Title: Recorded Evidence II
Format: CD
Label: Black Rose Recordings (@)
Rated: * * * * *
This is the first of two CDs recently received for review from Black Rose Recordings. I reviewed Contrastate's 'A Breeding Ground for Flies' back in 2013 and found it to be uneven. Some things I really like, others...not so much. 'Recorded Evidence II' is a collection of rare and unreleased tracks by Contrastate, released on their own Black Rose Recordings imprint, although some of these tracks did originally appear on Dirter in various formats too. The tracks are a progression from old(er) to new(er) so there is a discernible difference in recording and composition from beginning to end. The group, from the U. K. consists of Jonathan Grieve, Stephen J. Pomeroy and Stephen Meixner. The CD is 12 track over 59 minutes, and if you know Contrastate, it's fucking weird as usual.

Opening with "Taste the waste for the human race,” it sounds like The Residents on vocals over an acoustic guitar riff loop and other processed sounds and vocals. "English embers" begins with a crying baby over some dark ambient drone before a grim spoken word dialogue becomes the center of attention. Other elements, such as a clanging bell and ringing bells, various and sundry electronic elements invade your psyche. While I'm not going to describe every track, there are some that deserve mention, one way or the other. "Between two mirrors" is a primarily vocal piece that has a hallucinatory yet drunken quality to it, which under the influence of psychedelics would likely freak you the fuck out! The following track, "From the opened red lips" (an rlw improvised revision) is similar in its enigmatic vocal expression, but much briefer. I really loved the very spooky ambience of "True believer," but was a little disappointed with the repetitious voice-over that came in halfway through, leading into a huge noise barrage that followed, but that's Contrastate for you, or just me and my preferences. I really liked the malevolent ambience of "The people who control the information," and as noisy as it is, and with unintelligible vocals, it still manages to get its point across, in spades, I think. The weird thing is, it almost seems like that track was supposed to be the title of the following track, "Revolution sera la nom de la civilisation" from the "people who control the information" vocals on it, so I'm wondering if the track order didn't just get mixed up. The last track, "Africanus neanderthalis" takes a while to build into its ultimate percussive frenzy and ensuing electronic chaos, but just stops dead for no apparent reason...kind of like the tape ran out?

Fans of Contrastate are likely to appreciate this album more than I did, but it's a good introduction to the group for those who haven't heard but may be curious. As with 'A Breeding Ground for Flies' I'm not totally sold on it, but there's still a good deal to enjoy.

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