Shapednoise Until Human Voices Wake Us
The latest Opal Tapes edition isn't actually a tape, but rather a record, the label's first. Until Human Voices Wake Us, a mini-LP by Shapednoise, leans far toward the noise side of the noise-techno crossover. Although Nino Pedone has plenty of dancefloor credibility, recording as half of duo Violetshaped and being a part-owner of the Repitch label, these six tracks are more comparable with the producer's work for Hospital Productions, which is to say that they are ferocious. There is some semblance of form throughout, as most of the tracks are underlined by pulses, but that is about as domesticated as they get.
The palette here is a sort of festering, blackened mulch, and like many producers in his field, Pedone seems concerned with conjuring noxious zones. The titles, then, which primarily reference human (or postmortem) activity, feel like misnomers. The molten corrosion of "Between Hallucinations and High Poetry" suggests bubbling vats of industrial chemicals, while the searing electricity of "Information on the Individual Sensoriality" heaves like the bowels of a massive generator. Pedone doesn't have the same mastery of space as, say, Emptyset, but he is adept at getting a lot of power out of his machines, as well as keeping his arrangements loose and exciting. The slippy unquantized rhythm on opener "Witness of an Heart Attack Death" provides a fine base for roaring blasts of noise, while "Survival of the Dead" is virtually taken over by chunky, rapidly pummeling kicks. Occasional pads keep the record from going too far over the edge, and these work nicely as hints of meditativeness in otherwise unforgiving surroundings. The only glaring missteps are the glitches toward the end of "Information on the Individual Sensoriality," which immediately call the computer to mind; deliberately put there to disrupt the track, they end up disrupting its ambience instead, reminding the listener that there is a stodgy computer program behind the caustic muck.
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