How much humanity do you want in your music? Even in the most machine-tooled electroniKKKa (see here), the auteur?s compositional shadow is around somewhere, inadvertently warming the shredded steel sounds thru its mere presence; its sticky fingers massaging the software tiller (MAX patch). Such steerage is surely a contextual necessity; otherwise we might as well sit back and listen to our cars; indeed, I was listening to this in my own car just a few hours ago, and at some point during ?Confound Me?, I forgot that there was music playing (sounds emanating) and instead began to muse to myself that my automobile?s self-oscillating ambience was sounding damn fine
this afternoon. You know how when your window is just slightly wound down and the vibes the wisps make through the gap, especially driving past a load of buildings ? pressure, release, flutter, suck, pressure, release - well, it felt like my car was humming to itself; a giant quadrupally-vulcanized, internally-combusting tuning fork that I was the lucky beneficiary thereof. Well it turned out that it wasn?t the car, it was this record. My window wasn?t even open. How we laughed; myself and now you. And actually right here now as I type this to you I?m listening to it again and thinking my slightly-ajar basement window is really kicking off, what a great-sounding house I?m living in and I hope to God we?re all getting to grips with the fact that this grossly overloaded metaphor is truly a recommendation of a pretty damn high order and that ?Confound Me? does a good job of approximating the sound of busy air passing by.
So as for the humanity tangible within ?Maw? (Oaklander Brandon Nickell?s follow-up to 2005?s ?The Helical World?), what?s its scent; how do its colours smell? They smell like late-teen beatless Autechre on a winter beach holiday with friends? parents they don?t trust; they smell pewter-like; gleamin? gnarly bouncing bathroom-reverb that?ll tweak your (top-end) pineal nicely. You know, I find appreciation / digestion of music like this a little binary; kind of feral and grasping (blinking), and in a good way; absolute auditory immediacy: I-like-this-sound; I-am-reacting-well-to-this-sound-too; ooh-scorching; sped-up collapsing; mmmhmm-mangled iron-wool, my favourite. Narrative is irrelevant; blind surfing, ahem, sine waves. Which rings a bell, doesn?t it? This record is a good example of the cold-hearted sounds found at the end of the road modernistic electronic music found itself at right at the end of the last century and that select hobbyists still make and enjoy listening to in clubs with quadraphonic speakers, which is fair enough. The only ?problem? with much of ?Maw? is that it rarely transcends the software used in its construction; it does its job without magic or compulsion. Clicks and Cuts where would we be now, VIII?
This record sounds like looking at a cheap impressionist painting through a stainless steel sieve; and if I wanted to listen to paintings as viewed through sieves, which I do, then personally I?d colander myself a bit of Breughel or Hieronymus B. (Christian Fennesz?s own particular metaphorical sieve-painter is Jack Vettriano, for example.) 7/10 -- Seb Hunter (30 January, 2007)