Wednesday, March 21, 2018

CD Review:

$6 // //

"SHADOW SEA" opens with these delicate plucks which make me think of some kind of peaceful, soothing music for babies.   They feel somewhat distorted though and the more they play in that musicbox loop, the closer they fall into this distorted darkness.    It might begin as something you would play for a baby but as the track goes on you realize you probably don't want to play this for a baby.   The melody manages to somehow survive though it is trapped inside this cell of distorted rage.   It's rather interesting how this seemingly single thought, this sound, turns into something much greater.    The lullaby-like melodies return on their own to end the song.

Voices can be heard talking but not at the front so I assume it's a field recording.   Synth tones come through as if they are crashing like waves or a church bell telling us what time it is.   A sort of lightning bolt sound comes crashing through next, which seems to shake the very foundation of the entire song.    A pulsating beat enters the song now as does something which I want to say sounds like a saw but is more likely a violin.   This leads to some screeching and as it call kind of mixes together this just sounds like a cross between a modem connecting and a car crash.    The beat increases its pace and everything just seems to intensify.   It ends with applause, as this was a live performance.

Synth drone comes winding into the next song.    It is blissful, dreamy.    Whirrs come through in the background and then are joined by a little bit of static.    We end up being taken down into an entire realm of static.    A beat is produced now and there are some sounds which are somewhere between screeches and screams which makes me think perhaps they are being made by a string instrument.   They sound almost like birds now.   The distortion and beat carry a rhythm which could be industrial.    A back and forth, sort of seesaw sound comes through that has me nodding my head along with it for some reason.   This whole thing has grown to sound rather robotic, I must admit.

The fourth song opens with this sound I can't place, some kind of unusual percussion.   It sounds like someone is smashing a paper cup perhaps and that is being repeated in place of a snare drum.   This creates a rhythm with other sounds coming in as well.   As per the song title, this does sound a bit like gun shots.   A violin sound comes droning into the background.   This is also a bit like Stomp but in an industrial way.    A sharpness- a little bit sharper than a modem-comes through on a loop as well.   This track, much like this entire CD, seems to be about bringing the intensity and the destruction.    As the distortion grows wavy, sad strings come out as well, such as the sinking of the Titanic.

These sad strings flow seemlessly into the next track.     There exists this rhythm which combines with fast paced beats not made of beats and just this overall sound of dying but sped up somehow.   It's a lot to digest if you've never woken up in the middle of sleep with a bloody nose.     The strings become much more focused and lead the final track in a symphonic manner.   Some distortion joins them.    But ultimately this comes back to just being the strings and that is how this all ends, as if we are drifting away at sea to never be seen or heard from again.

When listening to this Ataraxic Ataxia CD I can't help but think that the songs all seem to follow a similar structure- for the most part.   And, I know, I don't want to sound tired or cliche because would you break down a pop song as verse/chorus/verse/bridge/etc?   But the songs all really do seem to have this pattern where they begin with one element, others join in to the point where it becomes everything all at once and then they slowly leave until there is only that single element from the start left again.    This isn't the exact pattern for every song on here, sure, but it does make for ideal listening when you can hear something you think is a certain way and then hear it change to something else and then back again.

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