Wednesday, January 11, 2012

REVIEW: Cut Hands - Afro Noise Part 1

8.25 out of 10
Find it here.

Various words come to mind which one would never imagine uttered in regarding the music of Whitehouse noise-icon, William Bennett: accessible, composed, upbeat. However, listening to his new project, Cut Hands, such descriptions somehow seem apt, even amidst a stark resemblance to the extremism underlining Bennett's career. This shift present throughout 'Afro Noise 1' is rooted in a clear reverence – a reverence for the strange, primitive origins of music so distant from Bennett's signature of contempt.

A feast of sonic territories rarely visited in the world of Bennett surface within 'Afro Noise 1's' first moments. Slow, pounding drums intertwine with convulsive, squealing trumpets, confirming to the listener Cut Hands is not just another Whitehouse project. This taste of dark frenzy explodes with “Stabbers Conspiracy,” where immediately bizarre, metallic polyrhythms assault the ears. In Bennett's fashion of outrageous excess, the song grows into a collision of gunfire beats and piercing frequencies, rising and falling until nothing is left but a hectic pummeling of African percussions. Cut Hands's blend of hyperbolic rhythms and eerie electronics sounds no more polished than on “Impassion. Though the song's elements parallel those featured on the rest of the album, panic trades itself in for calm. A simple two-note melody playing behind a lifting beat makes the listener believe Bennett is on the cusp of an outpouring of energy, but the song's restraint invokes a lulling hypnosis. An image of a tribe in the far corners of the world, dancing around a fire to their ancient music, lost in the spirit of rhythm, comes to mind. Somehow instinct tells me that this vision is not far from the one Bennett intended.

Tribal drumming juxtaposed against abstract electronics forges the odd symbiosis underlining Cut Hands's aesthetic. For the over three decades Bennett has performed, a curiosity for innovation has traveled into his ceaseless technological explorations; he even admits in a recent interview to having been “caught up in the whole technology arms race.” However, within this acknowledgement, it becomes necessary to view Cut Hands as Bennett's own release from the distractions of technology. Afro Noise I, though still faithful to the brutal dimensions of Whitehouse, is a return to the primal, hallucinatory setting noise music originally set out to conjure – an aspect too often left behind in the vast genre.

Standout Tracks: Who No Know Go Knows, ++++ (Four Crosses), Shut Up And Bleed, Impassion

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