Posts Tagged ‘Mangabros’

Submarine Broadcasting Co

Christopher Nosnibor

The press release details that ‘SCHTUMMM is the new project from Craig Manga (Mangabros, Modwump)’, and that ‘it’s Craig’s solo foray into generative music and it’s experimental, complex, emotional, mathematical and thoroughly original. There is beauty in there for those who are prepared to look’.

‘Despise’ is a harsh word. It connotes such a strong dislike that it borders on the physical. A loathing, a hatred, so consuming one would wish to obliterate it. How could anyone despise music where there is beauty to be found?

To be fair, Manga does make it quite difficult to find the beauty or even particularly like his work at times here.

After the gentle introduction of ‘First Cuts’, which combines subtle post-rock elements with a delicate ambience, and is pretty innocuous to say the least, things immediately become a whole lot more challenging with ‘Cesium Bed Deposits’, an experimental electronic effort which finds multiple rhythmic sound sources jostling and clanking for supremacy while whistling notes on the feedback spectrum waver in and out. It has something of a vintage vibe, hinting at the likes of Cabaret Voltaire and Test Department, even Throbbing Gristle, the kind of innovators who took new and emerging technologies and pushed them – and the boundaries of music – to the limit.

‘Juggerman’ is another exercise in dislocation and disorientation, warped tape loops spooling every which way around bulbous bass notes and clicks and pops which form muddy, stop-start rhythms. White boys can’t dance, especially not to twisted disco that’s out of key and out of time with itself as the tempos wow and flutter erratically all over ‘Tempus Fidget’ (which gets extra points for the audacious pun).

Things take a microtonal turn on ‘Circuitry <v.2.0 binary flesh>’. With piano notes bent and stretched out of shape, it sounds like ‘How Long’ by ACE, or maybe 10cc’s ‘I’m not in Love’ on a chewed-up audiocassette that’s being run over by a bulldozer, while the glitching circuity slowly melts in a stammering overload. It’s certainly a perverse and an intentionally frustrating listen.

The three-part ‘Memorygauze’ sequence, each part of which is precisely 10:00 induration (apart from the third, which is ten minutes and three seconds – I’m convinced b now that SCHTUMMM is out to affront my sense of order and my somewhat OCD tendencies are tripping over this detail

The looping vocal collage of the first of these, ‘Memorygauze: ,the erosion of nostalgia: infantile dementia>’ employs the popular horror trope of the eerie children’s voice singing, but renders it all the more unsettling with its abstraction, and the child-like simplicity of the sing-song repetition when pitched against dripping bleeps and a stuttering heartbeat of a rhythm becomes more uncomfortable over time. ‘Memorygauze: ,the erosion of nostalgia: juvenile dementia>’ sounds like the same track only more melted, a trick repeated on ‘Memorygauze: ,the erosion of nostalgia: alienator goofiest nosh>’, which actually sounds closer to the first, only with additional sighs, farts, and beeps in the mix before going drum ‘n’ bass about six minutes in. It’s almost as if SCHTUMMM is endeavouring to wring every last drop of frustration by testing the patience to the max and then just keeping on going – and going, and going. And I admire the audacity. I also appreciate the exploration of tonality, the way the relationship between incongruous sounds is interrogated in detail. It’s also a credit that instead of switching rapidly between ideas, each is given time enough to be fully realised.

Ultimately, from the frustration emerges a real admiration: it’s a challenging album, and it’s meant to be, and as such, very much an artistic success.

AA

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