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Review

David Grundy, Eartrip, no. 5, March 1, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010 Press

Jittery, cut-up music in which a barrage of samples — fragments of barely-recognisable speech, conventional instruments running a gauntlet of electronic distortion, snippets of grooves and beats that have been pulled and stretched and chopped to pieces — collide and (less frequently) cohere into a soundscape that can strike one at different moments as either fun, in a kind of crazy, sped-up way, or nightmarish, for pretty much the same reason. The starting point here would seem to be the more experimental moments of Autechre or Aphex Twin, with the tendency to repetitive, danceable beats knocked to one side to leave something which has a definite physical pull to it, but which isn’t going to make you dance to any sort of regular rhythm– rather, your stop-start spasms will give you away as a madman dancing to the disrespectful voices in your head. There’s no real question of ‘soloing’ here, or even of distinguishing between the various musicians, given the way that everything is mashed-up through electronics: the occasional beats which can be heard to come from a conventional drum-kit are soon overlaid with all manner of computerised sputters and run-away loops, and Jean René’s viola, which might have pulled things in a more ambient direction (à la Coil’s Moon’s Milk) is kept firmly to the bottom of the mix on his one contribution to the album. It’s rather like listening to a radio station with really fucked-up reception for an hour, the few moments of respite being provided through samples of Maurice Ravel’s Ma mère l’oye and a Don Cherry trumpet piece that appear, are toyed with, mangled out of recognition, and then discarded for the next set of electronic whirligigging. Another comparison might be the sample-overload of early Public Enemy without the (relatively) stabilising element of Chuck D and Flavor Flav’s vocals, which are at least determinedly about something: no such reference points here. One is left to conclude, then, that it’s best to avoid looking for comparisons, for generic references, as they’re pretty much useless in describing music that’s so determinedly askew, so schizophrenically active, so resistant to easy digestion and to standardised comprehension as this; music as chemical substance, hurtling through the blood-stream, sparking all sorts of strange, shuddering journeys through the brain.

One is left to conclude, then, that it’s best to avoid looking for comparisons, for generic references, as they’re pretty much useless in describing music that’s so determinedly askew, so schizophrenically active, so resistant to easy digestion and to standardised comprehension as this…

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