Monday, August 3, 2020
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fri(G)id: The Terminology is Flawed

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Artist: fri(G)id (@)
Title: The Terminology is Flawed
Format: CD + Download
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
For some time I've been losing my taste for harsh noise/power electronics, partially because it seems I've heard all that can be done with it, and partially because I find most of it just so fucking annoying. Then along comes an artist in the genre who's trying to put a different spin on it. Fri(G)id is the solo project of Simon Severe from New Orleans, a place not really known for industrial noise. As a project, fri(G)id has been performing in New Orleans since 2015 in basements, underground venues, theatres, houses and bars. 'The Terminology is Flawed' (2017) is the first recorded release by fri(G)id. It's 74 minutes of harsh noise with themes of sexual inner conflict. I can't say that everything on this album was interesting but it had its moments. "IntroEXTro" opens the album and all it is is a repetitive short screaming feedback loop with rapidly pulsing square wave. It has the hell manipulated out of it over time but still wasn't very creative in my estimation. "Strait Talk" (w/FatPlastik) is an assortment of industrial style noises with recorded voices talking over, under and around it. Now I'm reminded why I really don't like noise projects. Boring and annoying. I was about to give up on this thing entirely when "Mirror Mask" came on. There's a frequency in it which just resonates with my tinnitus and I wasn't sure if it was in my head or in my speakers. There's just so much going on in this extreme noise piece that I thought I was going crazy. You know, if something affects you, even negatively to this extent, it must be effective. "Winter" was an interesting track; a little under 2 minutes of women (it may have been only one woman with the voice processed and overdubbed) speaking in a stream of conscious manner on some strange, indecipherable topics along with repetitive fast-pulsing noise. "3+5" once again puts female voice(s) into the mix, with some backwards noise looping and other processed noise. Over time the noise gets heavier and more intense ending finally with the female voice saying "Im ashamed of what I became." too. The jittery noise on "Does it hurt?" is as grating as fingernails on a chalkboard, and there is some sporadic male/female dialogue interspersed. (Gender-bending mixed with circuit bending?) Although it was hard to make out the words, it seemed to have been of a sexual nature. I particularly liked the end though when the semi-rhythmic beats with intermittent metallic noise feedback was all there was left. "the Talk" begins with a female voice asking "Do you think you know everything about sex?" followed by buzzy noise and beats, which intensifies over time, interspersed with male and female voice talking about sex. You probably won't be able to make out much of the dialogue, but I can see this working on two levels - the subliminal, which only your subconscious mind is hearing, and the obvious, in which your conscious mind strains to hear most of what is being said. When it comes listening to people talking about sex, I think most people have this Pavlovian instinct to eavesdrop. I really don't know what "Efficacy (penis envy)" was supposed to be about, for the sonics seem to have nothing to do with the title. Perhaps the intermittent "drilling" sounds has something to do with it, especially as it picks up speed. I couldn't make out any of the painfully processed vocal toward the end, but maybe that had something to do with it as well. More tumultuous noise on "True Love Weights" with fairly distorted, loop-echoed processed voices, swelling into a repetitive echo-feedback mess. It ends with a female voice clearly stating that "This is a reminder that keeping yourself pure is important." I'll bet it is. I expected things to be a little buzzier on "Vagina Wasp," but I ought to know by know that in fri(G)id's world, you can't judge a track by its title. The (processed) voices in this piece are totally muddled, the noise- more processed static than anything else, and nothing much stood out about it at all. I think that by any standards 'The Terminology is Flawed' is an uneven album. Still, noise enthusiasts may find it interesting, even though it's not going to change my perspective on the noise genre. The CD comes with a bizarre little 8-page booklet which may (or may not) shed some light on the voice samples used. You can also get it in digital download or cassette format.


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