Saturday, April 27, 2013

REVIEW: Violetshaped - LP

8.75 out of 10

''Violet like winter twilights. Poison like raw madness.” This is how the enigmatic British producer Violet Poison explains the meaning behind his/her moniker. Pretentious as it may seem, evocations of nocturnal landscapes and psychic frenzy are remarkably apt when describing Violet Poison's music. Over the past two years (s)he has onslaught upon the underground electronic music community a manic hybrid of Harsh Noise, Industrial music, vintage Electronica, EBM, and Minimal Techno. The raw physicality, the unnerving ambience, the insanely intricate arrangements: Violet Poison's music is simply unmatched.

Violet Poison's most recent release –  a collaboration with Berlin's Shapednoise under the name Violetshaped – might just be the artist's most powerful material to date. The album begins with a simple rippling beat and droning feedback. No rhythm is established; we are simply left submerged in a dark and unsettling atmosphere. Then, within the first seconds of “The Lord Won't Forget,” the total assault begins. Machine-blast beats, amorphous rhythms, and half-formed melodies flow in and out for eight minutes, leaving us overwhelmed yet yearning for more. This relentless barrage continues for the next six tracks. “Out Of Any Symmetry” recalls the Industrial-Tribalism of late Whitehouse, hammering out an almost Tropical beat alongside a deep, nauseating bassline. “Spectral Nightdrive” retains the expansive feeling of the opener, but injects an even more sickly ominous sensation as panning glitches and asymmetrical spasms of beats immolate any central guiding pattern. By the closing bars of the final track, you will be gasping for breath.

Comparisons to artists like Demdike Stare and Raime may seem obvious when listening to this album, but none are adequate. There is no sense of the alienating distance or restraint present in most Minimal Techno here. This album is simply no-holes-barred, face-eating electronic music. I swear every time I hear one of these songs a new layer of sound becomes perceptible to me. They all have their own internal architectures, full of nuanced complexities and unyielding strangeness, that lead to an endlessly rewarding listening experience. Prepare for sensory overload.

Standout Tracks: The Lord Won't Forget, Out Of Any Symmetry, Spectral Nightdrive

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