The concert hall of the 18th and 19th centuries was a riot. Pandemonium vibes issued forth from the throats and arms of performative audiences were symptomatic of a mobile, aristocratic restlessness that got usurped by a docile bourgeoisie in the late 19th C. – a crowd that was more considerate and attuned to a proscenium etiquette. The haunting faux pas of Datashock’s “pox ice cream” cassette on roaming French/American label oms-b sounds like the loitering poltergeist jams of a few remaining hecklers intent on spoiling the sanctity of the entombed scene. Akin to the funereal folk of Silvester Anfang, Datashock’s distracted wackiness takes place somewhere up in the rafters, becoming a distant ritual that leaks into the prescribed crypt-like silence of the spacious and deserted setting. The proceedings occur as an elevated, terminal digression, stuck still on the vaulted margins of our seated listening arrangements. Such alienation makes the experience twice as unsettlingly intoxicating.
The music itself, however aloof, stays equally Cool. Cursory laser-like pitches fold in and over crashing industrial guitar clouts that metamorphose as MOR slide-guitar lines like meteorological glissandi. Echo-laden throat singing and Theremin freak-outs generate a lattice-like din that’s one-part symphony orchestra and two-parts The Who – a sort of Siamese menagerie that could well be a peripheral volcanic car crash occurring in slow-mo somewhere beyond what now feels like a vacuous rock arena. The tempest recedes before an utterly incongruous bongo patter punctures an equally displaced industrial loop and a sibilant phantom utterance is frozen in its own incessant cycle. Such basic and superficially retarded musical arithmetic makes for some pretty stratospheric vibrations, and has the listener eavesdropping on the most lysergic of Doppler Effects through its pure loopy portability. A rattlesnake shaker hiss twists with the vocal riff into some incompressible oblivion, while clearer, yet equally incoherent munching hums scatter into the foreground like digital mice hole-punching their way through acoustic cheese. The squiggly makeshift air rides upon a rising and plummeting harmonic hook that gets splintered by its spatial dissolution yet remains magic, if only in a MYMWLY kind of way. Fake-harp arpeggios and cassette wiggles wed accordion-like sighs, recoiling vocal neighs and furry phased falsettos, while radar pulses and general spaceship ambience delicately saturate a galloping static clip-clop, a wormhole tremolo doing the textural groundwork for all this vertiginous commotion to occur without short-circuiting itself down a different, and more meaningless, black hole. Spooky omens soon abound as the lingering melodic themes curl themselves back into lofty reserve, like zombies chortling their way from galactic grand-theft-auto. A goodbye splash from an onboard synthesizer and a fade-out terminates the second side, and you wake from a wickedly convoluted sonic siesta. Realignment with the 20th century isn’t as easy as it was before. 7/10 -- E.R. Chatterton (11 March, 2009)