Despite his role as a mastermind behind the Gameboy label, the considerable quantity of releases and the abundance of collaborations entertained (including artists respected from yours truly, such as Brendan Murray and Francisco Meirino aka Phroq), this is the first time, if the memory is not failing, that I hear sounds produced by Mike Shiflet. Bad for me, especially in view of the brilliance of this collaboration with Daniel Menche, my impartiality towards the latter well known (sorry, gimme a second as I go lighting up another candle under the Portlander’s icon, heh heh). The sources used were Hammond organs and electronics; the material was recorded between 2007 and 2008. OK, all ready for an amassment of crabby drones? Hold your horses.
The opening movement is constructed upon acute frequencies (initially similar to radio waves, then fusing in a single painful flux), irregular crackling/purring and a low rumble underneath – picture the sound of heavy wind hitting a microphone’s capsule. Factors that appear independent yet mesh with no trouble, providing a tense expectancy tinted with insubstantial colours. No ornamentations, no conjectures, as directly affecting as you can get. The increasing hostility of the subsequent chapter is characterized by the anticipated massive droning – of the flanging / metallic / industrial kind, very threatening indeed – and by an implicit pulse giving an idea of unavoidable virulence. The organ timbre - here as everywhere else - is often hard to distinguish, but one couldn’t really care less: this is sunless music, utterly absorbing and entrancing. Myriads of micro-rhythms and illusory patterns are detected, a magnificent underworld of inappropriate presences gradually turning into the verses of a post-metropolitan poem. The final third comprises bottomless booming, mangled fragments of – again – radio-like emissions, a sense of boiling grimy liquids, additional crackle-and-pop activity. We envision mechanical seagulls fighting for food at one point, then Father Drone comes back with a vengeance and it’s guerilla warfare: vicious ferociousness until the record’s conclusion, signaled by a humongous throb generated in the keyboard’s low-register area.
An outstanding work, heterogeneous and smartly crafted, mixing violence and brainpower in equal doses. Mental purification dressed in timbral infectivity.