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Xiphoid Dementia, "Secular Hymns"

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cover imageThis album from Egan Budd's solo noise project is one that comes together splendidly at the intersection of a multitude of sounds, approaches, and structures, although the mood remains consistently dark throughout.  While at times the bleak atmospherics at times become a bit too much, overall it is a strong and aggressive album.


Opening with "Abortion Rites," a mess of slowly undulating and distorted tones, there is a sense of restrained malignancy, like a dark apparition closing in.  The addition of mangled strings and increasing volume builds upon this tension until it is engulfed by a grinding layer of digital noise, pairing the distortion with an almost hymnal layer beneath.  The closing ends up a battle of dark synth passages and unrestrained power electronics harshness taking turns in bludgeoning one another.

"My Time Will Never Come" has a different approach, mixing keyboard passages with metallic, clattering objects that alternate between pure dissonance and structured melody, carried over into a pairing of distorted electronics and an insinuated rhythm.  The closing passage of tolling bells and keyboards results in something that leans a bit too far into goth cheesiness for my liking, however.

"What You Believe" is less about hinted melody and more focused on atmospheres.  Rhythms that resemble an idling engine mixed with booming, reverberated thuds and crashes results in an expansive, although bleak ambience that begins to be filled with creaking objects and humming electronics, eventually collapsing into an abyss of junk percussion and overdriven noises.

The final track, "Breathe," is all about pulsing electronics and lower frequency passages.  What sounds like pieces of indecipherable words and electronic passages become darker and heavier with time, again insinuating malignancy more than being outwardly aggressive.  The latter moments bring back the overdriven electronic squalls and harsh feedbacked bits, but with a certain level of restraint that keeps things from becoming a full on noise fest.

On each of these long pieces, Budd plays a compelling game of juggling atmospheric, at times melodic bits of electronics with unmitigated distorted outbursts.  While there are times where it occasionally drifts into cliché “dark” territories, those spots are few and forgivable within the overall context of the album.



Last Updated on Monday, 11 August 2014 15:56  


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