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Strings of Consciousness & Angel

cover image The music crafted by Strings of Consciousness could appropriately characterized as stream of consciousness: improvisation being the musical equivalent of the literary technique. Based around the core of a string quartet, the international collective, instigated by Philippe Petit, join themselves with a revolving cast of fellow musical travelers. This time they team up with Angel, who began in 1999 as duo between Ilpo Vaisanen (Pan Sonic) and Dirk Dresselhaus (Schneider TM). In 2004 Icelandic multi-instrumentalist of Múm fame, Hildur Gudnadottir, was recruited. The result has become a vehicle on which my own consciousness can travel, moving from the ominous and hyperdriven sounds of deep space to wander amidst the ancient ruins of a moonswept world.

 

Important Records

Strings Of Consciousness & Angel - S/T

Music like this can be hallucinatory, and while the sounds of “#1” left me with a feeling of vertigo that I was afraid would not go away, as a side effect it was minimal. The first lengthy song, close to 22 minutes, is built on the bedrock of a long sustained tone that pricked at the back my skull. A distorted guitar soon joins in and its strings sound frayed. Blistering on the first listen, its heavy wall of layered fuzz was like an itchy sweater only put on during winter's coldest days; at first it is uncomfortable and the need to scratch soon follows. Strings of Consciousness' oscillating lines of noise are very warm, crackling with subtlety and hidden nuances.

Inside the push and pull of wind rushing through an accordion I can hear the explosion of air on a rocket ship as the fuel is ignited. Solar flares must have interfered with the recording equipment; I can hear them as heavy noise squalls bleeding through the speakers. Somehow the background radiation of the universe has been made audible. Tossed about on the rocking waves of this cosmic ocean, I am eventually pulled in beyond the event horizon. The music keys me into a superstring theory of everything, and I am born into a new parallel world.

While “#1” is beautiful in the way that it makes my nerve endings feel burned raw, “#2” by comparison has a more palliative effect. On this track the accordion has a more pronounced presence, as I follow its echoes and get lost in labyrinthine ruins of sound. Holographic guitars emerge from hidden grottoes, electronic bleeps twitter and swarm before being overtaken by deftly flanged, panning chords. Chains rattle, riding in over the high metallic drone of a Tibetan singing bowl. Percussive clangs dance with raucous abandon before things settle down, all carried in on a balmy Mediterranean breeze. I know I will be returning to the landscapes conjured in this 18 minute song again and again. It was my favorite of the two. By the end of the record I feel purged and uplifted, as if I had passed through a storm while making a pilgrimage to the temple of sound.

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The Dead Texan

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Review of the Day

squarepusher, "go plastic"
The first track on Tom Jenkinson's new album, 'Go Plastic' seems to do just that. "My Red Hot Car" begins like a soft-core porn featuring raver-style actors. The stars would spend a lot of time fucking with the compostition of naked break beats, use a lot of pitch bending for flair, and maybe even show blatant disregard for melodic structure that pleases one's ears or even that which exists at all. This disc is rife with thin beats and whack bass sounds (that's right acid basslines reprasent in 2001!! yea-eah. no). When listening, watch out for unfulfilling "break" sections and boring melodies that sound like the portamento-style hijinx of DR. Dre a la 'The Chronic', minus the "it being good" part. A few tracks on the CD are decent, like the third track, "Go! Spastic". Tommy gets into a really nice breakbeat mashup but you may end up turned off as I was by the acid bass that begins the track and the thin, icky breakdown at around the two minute mark. I'd like to dance to this track at its finest moments but around four mnutes, there is a gross reverb used and it detracts from me really feelin the track as a whole.
A lot of places on the album turn me off because the sounds mimic those ripped off any old groovebox or Roland synth. I guess there's something to be said for old school sounds but I am not going to say it nor will I hear that. Most of the tracks can be broken down like this: they have their kind of nice places, then more bad parts, and then the awesome atonal composition that seems to be taking electronic music by storm!! I guess my issues with this album is that the chosen sounds could have been better and the melodies could have made sense or shown an emotion present on the any other full-length releases by Squarepusher.

 

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