In the beginning this was meant to be a collaboration between Phil Julian and Helmut Schäfer, the sound artist from Austria who committed suicide in 2007. While the dramatic event forced the project’s abortion, Julian – armed with G3 PowerBook and related software – decided to add the finishing touches to what he had already recorded until that moment. At first, listening to the crunchy distortions and repeatedly clashing interferences of the initial episode, my mind threw out a classic “oh no, another useless laptop release” reaction; but your reviewer couldn’t be more wrong.
Secede is indeed an excellent album, all the constituents utilized respecting an even-handed dosage which allows noise and harmony to coexist – and, in truth, the latter often seems to be born from the former, to the point that certain sections caused serious entrancement despite the hypothetic inhospitableness of Cheapmachines’ timbral choices. Music informed by a congenial type of grittiness, the one that leaves us curious to know what comes after, paying attention to how the plot thickens, trying to understand what the original components might be. And there’s not only sheer overdriven granularity: the gorgeous deep reverberation of the fifth track is an example of welcome digression, shifting the whole to somewhat brooding atmospheres.
An intelligently realized record, lacking any kind of exaggeration, which should be exemplar in suggesting the raising of the quality bar to many computer-sheltered dabblers.