wired for sound part 14: the return of sanity muffin, part three

July 21, 2011 at 11:09 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Born to Kill – Eyes and Ears of the Apocalypse (Sanity Muffin)

Right, now it’s time to drop the heavy stuff.  ‘Born to Kill’ isn’t as grisly a name as ‘Torture Corpse’ but it is unpleasant enough to get me thinking.  The graphics housing this release obviously reference armed conflict, which thankfully I’ve never had direct experience of, but people are being killed so that we can fill our car with cheap petrol.  Others live in misery as a direct result of our desire to live in comfort.  I’m not starting a political argument here – I’m just stating the fact of the matter.  Stepping outside our species things get even worse.  Who knows how many creatures will die just to feed me over my lifetime?  Pity the poor chicken, raised in grim conditions then slaughtered to provide the filling for a lunchtime sandwich I barely tasted as I flicked absentmindedly through the newspaper.  Much as we try to ignore it, we are all born to kill: my wholly ordinary life implies a grotesque body count.  Cheery thought, eh?  This is the frame of mind in which to approach this tape, or the frame of mind it will put you in.  Hope is entirely absent.

There are two reasons why my written response to this music is not as finely honed as I would like.  Firstly, I’ve listened to this several times but only once or twice straight through.  Wary of its intensity, mostly I’ve just listened to a section, as much as I could concentrate on, then picked it up again later.  As such I’ve lost track of which side is which and the order that noteworthy passages appear.

The second reason is more interesting: this music is slippery.  I’d think I had a handle on it – first-wave industrial electronics filtered through a stoner-rock sensibility, say – only to be wrong-footed by a repeat listen.  Much is brutal in its minimalism – thumping will do for rhythm, a two note refrain as close as you get to tunefulness – but there is a grim resolution to it which, in a less muscular release, I’d be tempted to call sophistication.

Also absent is the apocalypse itself.  The band are too smart to attempt an account of the destruction (what are they going to do?  Shout “BANG!!”?).  Instead I read this as essays on the aftermath.  Perhaps the last of the dinosaurs, sluggishly crawling through permanent night, the sky black with post-meteorite particulates, succumbing one by one as their blood cools to an unpumpable sludge.  Perhaps the ragged remains of a post-nuclear-war humanity, hopelessly gathering scraps of our destroyed civilisation only to be flayed by the radiation soaked objects they find.  This fits: some of the increasingly frantic analogue throbbing does sound like instruments, alarms going crazy.

I realise that I may not be selling it to you.  Would it help if I said I thought this tape was brilliant?  I do.  Everyone interested in experimental music can name records they admire, even think Great, but which they rarely listen to due to their difficulty (I’d be seriously concerned about someone who had ‘Hamburger Lady’ on constant rotation, for example).  This tape could be one of those.  I’m glad to have it because I know that some days it is going to be exactly what I’m after.

Buy here.

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