Francisco Meirin / Miguel A. Garcia – Nonmenabsorbium

Posted: 4 July 2017 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Christopher Nosnibor

Perhaps I need a break. I love music and I love reviewing it. But looking through my to-review pile and my groaning inbox, I feel overwhelmed and despondent, disinterested even. I look at the tiles and the artists, knowing instinctively that some will leave me cold and others will irritate me. Perhaps stirring my frustration with break the ennui, but it’s almost 11p, and

I pick up Nonmenabsorbium on a whim. The dark cover, not so much black and white as many shades of grey, from mostly within the darker end of the greys spectrum, tells me nothing. I can’t locate the accompanying press release. I’m flying blind, with only my senses and my instinct to guide me.

It’s pleasing to discover that Nonmenabsorbium contains no music in the conventional sense. No songs, no singing. No chords, no melodies, no tunes. No identifiable shapes or structures, no instruments or rhythms. Sparse, minimal drones and high-end tweets trill and hover. Thuds and thumps, sounds recorded seemingly too close to the microphone and booming through disproportionately loud against the barely-there backdrop jolt the senses. These are sounds without context and without overt structure or direct relation to one another. Often, the incidentals are disproportionate in volume to the ever-shifting grain of the backdrop, booming and crackling mic and speaker distortion as single notes ring out and resonate.

During ‘Abholicater’, the churning clatter coalesces to create a sort of arrhythmic percussive form, hammering and beating amidst a swirling swell of amorphous grey sound, which gradually dissipates to be replaced by the fizz and pop of electrostatic, shrieking diodes and the grumbling grind of low-end hum. #

‘2nd nalicii – 197degree5’ sounds very like R2D2 building for a breakdown, an electronic work based around rising frequencies which threaten to burst the tension. But it doesn’t happen. Sonar pulses radiate amidst the crackling clatter and wowing incidental of the eleven-minute closer ‘Horrorrydclowses’, as a rain of static pink noise showers down on electronic Catherine wheels. Monitor bleeps blast into cerebral flatlines amidst a relentless whupping churn and grind of static noise which owes a clear debt to the lineage which brought us early 80s Whitehouse, Prurient, Merzbow et al. Meirin and Garcia may belong to a different musical heritage, but Nonmenabsorbium is an intense sonic assault that requires a cautious approach.

The atmosphere is one of building expectation, and tension builds with the growing sense that there must be a point at which the threat of all-out noise is realised. But such cathartic release fails to materialise. Instead, the bumps and clanks are nerve-fraying after a time, and it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish from the sounds on the disc the possibility of someone ascending the stairs, moving in the next room, stumbling around between plant pots and dustbins in the back lane or the yard outside. Consequently, the pleasure to be derived from listening to Nonmenabsorbium is perhaps a rather perverse one. Nonmenabsorbium provides an unsettling distraction, a removal from the humdrum and the sonic wallpaper of the everyday / mainstream. But, by way of escape, and also as an example of difficult but rewarding listening, Nonmenabsorbium offers an immersive and awkward sense of entertainment.

Francisco Meirin Miguel A. Garcia

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