Mensimonis – Clone Fever

Posted: 5 May 2017 in Albums
Tags: , ,

Opa Loka Records – ol16012

This is one of those slow-building, immersive albums that doesn’t really go anywhere, but has a cumulative effect. Positioning Clone Fever is hard. As the band’s biography explains, they try to ‘do a “musical” thing with the idea of droning away at it… It seems a very simple and basic concept but it always leads to very different results.’

On a technical level, ‘Radboud takes care of the lower parts of the sound, and using oscillators and effects, Lukas is allowed to stay on top with an accumulation of lopped guitar attacks that slowly evolve into drones as the overtones take over.’ This much is apparent in the way each of the compositions on Clone Fever evolves, and through a process of gradual growth, develops into something quite different. It’s the sonic density that the pair create through this process which is the defining feature of the album’s sonic impact.

The first of the four long-form tracks is entitled ‘the individual is handicapped by coming face-to-facee with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists’. As preposterous as the title is, is could well be a soundtrack to our post-everything times. It begins in Earth-inspired drone-folk territory, but as the backwards guitar noodlings build layer upon layer over a slow-swelling elongated drone that expands to fill all space, throbbing and pulsing. And so it goes, for over 22 minutes. But did I hear that right? Did the CD stick or did extraneous electronic sounds fleeting rupture the droning wheeze just a few minutes in?

The ears and the mind can play tricks on the listener, and so can Mensimonis, Radboud Mens and Lukas Simonis (the name being a compound, the creative output being some kind of third mind greater than the sum of the parts, namely electronic / industrial / noise ns noise improv).

Similarly, ‘few believe me when I tell them that the rulers of this planet are of reptilian bloodlines’ continues the ‘conspiracy’ theme, and also starts hesitantly, stuttering, fragmented splinters of a melody gradually growing into something surreal, unreal, a discordant, hazy swell of sound.

‘give the clone a soul, god is watching over your shoulder’ is noisier, forged from a wailing wall of mid-range feedback which hums and quavers as it grates and grinds. Toward the end, the density of sound reaches a point of overload, the signals and sounds breaking up, fracturing, stuttering, glitching.

The album’s final track, ‘all rumours being investigated’ is both the shortest and most challenging, a grating, serrated racket of atonal guitar clanging, churning metallically into an agonizing sonic whorl. By the close, it’s excruciating – in the best possible way, in that it offers no respite, as volume and frequency combine to yield a sound that assails the senses from every angle.

One may broadly categorise ‘Clone Fever’ as a drone album, and it is very much a work centred about the accumulation of sound to create vast, immersive dronescapes with deliberate, unfurling layers folding into one another. But this is a work that digs deep into the psyche and with its occasional jolts and incidental eruptions which interfere with the organic flow of the thought patterns, it’s also an album which offers new potential and at changes the listener on so many levels. It’s an album that does require a degree of patience, but which ultimately delivers a great deal more than the surface suggests it may.



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