This, stomping, mechanistic racket has the distinct sound of its era, despite sounding decidedly atypical. Its huge, rectangular, electronic drum … More
Finger-picked arpeggios fall with the regularity and impersonal melancholy of rain, offset by a vocal delivery that is hesitant not in its phrasing, but in its timbre. The sound of this four-song EP is intimate, extremely close to the listener’s ear, and it is formed from the kind of performative gestures in which the proximity of the musician is most pronounced: this is sound as embodiment, its aesthetics rooted in an erotic of human frailty. Lyrically and melodically it is concerned with the concrete, with particulars, but it is an idea of the concrete that is as ephemeral as smoke and as fragile as eggshells – Calming River’s voice
Positive vibes abound on this perfectly formed EP produced by the estimable Rich Huxley, whose main gig Hope And Social sits in exactly the same affective territory; clear-sighted optimism is the order of the day, and because the songs are notably lacking in trite sentiment or spurious closure the effect is genuinely uplifting. The musical engine that drives the feeling is a light but deep acoustic groove, which swings hard with an upbeat lift on even the most laid-back of the tunes. The band is locked in so tightly that it’s hard to credit how relaxed they sound, and the dynamics are shaded and weighted with real sensitivity; the mix strikes a perfect balance between separation and integration, or more to the point, it has a shedload of both, so although
at one with the machine is the sophomore release and point of exit for Jason Norwood’s studio powernoise project code 000. Two albums have evidently been enough to scratch that creative itch for him, but he has made good use of his time in the world of electronic distortion and jackhammer beats. Powernoise is a genre that demands its practitioners take a position on issues around humanity and creative agency; its basic materials are both mechanistic and aurally abrasive, admitting neither conventional aesthetic valuations nor traditional notions of expressive craft. Some notable proponents of the style embrace these features wholeheartedly, presenting desolate soundworlds of post-human indifference, whose entire audience appeal …
Apparently (I read in the press release, in a rare fit of journalistic research) The Real Sounds From Hell Recordings refers to a project to record the sound of deep plate tectonics, which is rumoured to have accidentally recorded Hell. I would imagine that plate tectonics sound a lot lower and slower than this, and as for Hell, I imagine it to sound a lot more like Perry Como. These sounds are pretty damn harrowing however. They are, by turns, angry, dark, ominous and brutal; they are however far more complex and considered than most sounds that visit those places.
It’s unclear how much of this album might have been created using the genuinely simple digital resources it seems to utilise, and how much use was made of rather more sophisticated plugins standing in for them, but either way, there’s a lot more processing than would be permissible on purist chiptunes (i.e. some). The 8-bit vibe is convincingly nailed regardless, and I for one have very little time for purisms of any sort. This music’s agenda is to celebrate its digitalism, which it manages to present in a way that is surprisingly organic.
The difference between the electro-industrial and powernoize genres can sometimes be no more than the degree of distortion involved. Much of this album’s beats and song structures could have sat quite happily on Matt Fanales previous Caustic release …And You Will Know Me By The Trail Of Vomit…