Saturday, July 14, 2012

Contortionist Jazz Exotica (2012)

Some noise artists have attempted to elevate the genre to a new level of sophistication and subtlety. Aube creates entire albums out of a single, sometimes surprising, source. Merzbow has theme albums that utilize bird songs and prog rock samples. In general, there has been a gradual development of noise music from anarchic racket to cultured sound manipulation.

Contortionist Jazz Exotica resists this evolution with every fiber of their being. The band refuse to provide any  information about themselves or their music, and the tape they sent me (not CD, tape! I had to go out and specifically acquire the hardware necessary to listen to it!) contains no track titles or any other text at all.

Don't let the name fool you. There is no jazz, much less exotica to be found here. It's a chaotic, sometimes terrifying listen that sounds like a wild, drug and alcohol fueled Saturday night gone horribly wrong. It's very, very noisy, with few identifiable sources for the sounds. There's a lot of feedback, much screaming and a few repeated loops. The only time the wall of sound breaks down is to make way for a few vocal samples that are no less incomprehensible and disturbing.

 It's kind of refreshing to hear modern experimental music stripped of the glitzy Pro-Tools trappings and bared down to pure DIY noisemaking. In a way I am reminded of early Einst├╝rzende Neubauten or Foetus. Still, Contortionist Jazz Exotica is a harrowing, though never boring, experience. Fans of the underground noise scene will surely find much to appreciate about the band.

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