Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Aufgehoben - Messidor

(2006, Holy Mountain)

Let me (hopefully) be the first to introduce you to the most violently abrasive noise album of 2006. Yeah, I’m aware that 2006 saw the release of Wolf Eye’s Human Animal, Yellow Swans’ Psychic Secession and even Prurient’s soul destroying Pleasure Ground. Nevertheless, Aufgehoben’s Messidor is the rightful king of them all. Clearly, “noise” can be a divisive topic; well, lets face it, noise can be a repellent topic at best. It is not even a point of possible conversation for most. I don’t tote these statements as a pretension because I share some of the sentiments held by its detractors. However, I also find that some of this so called noise is, in fact, genius. A portion of this movement is the embodiment and natural progression of the true punk/hardcore spirit of old that has all but fizzled into commercial stagnancy. Another part is all geek, harboring the crème de la crème of musical scientists. If you will allow me to be overly and unnecessarily analytical: Noise, as a genre label (and I am aware of the stigma of labeling genres of music, so bear with me), or avant-garde music as a whole, walks a thin line between intellectuality and the most intense ignorance; between the positively inspiring and the absolutely degrading. It’s a razors edge and you are either on it or you aren’t. The trouble is, as a rule, the genre is so heavily washed in reverb and distortion that it can be quite a task to sort through the legitimate artistry and the illegitimate, obnoxious crap. By now it has to be unavoidably clear that I, Mr. Thistle (my obvious birth name, first and last), has a bit of a sweet tooth for the unconventional. It is with this sweet tooth that I would like to humbly assert that Aufgehoben’s Messidor is in fact a work of genius proportions. Coupling both the spirit of a punk/hardcore revolution and the intellect of the most precisely built, artistic audio composition, Messidor drives its ethic, like screws, into your very bones. Aufgehoben’s noise devastation also manages to be incredibly respectable and refreshing by avoiding the now cheap hallmark of screaming through distorted mics that each of the aforementioned bands seems to fall back on. My personal problem with noise music can often be traced back to this method of distorted screaming. While I don’t perceive myself as particularly offendable, this process often leaves me with a more demonic tone than I casually prefer. It turns the composition into shock art which has little relevance in my arena of appreciation. On the other hand, Aufgehoben’s jazzy Sightings via Merzbow attack comes as a robust explosion, making its contemporaries look exceptionally weak in comparison without using any vocals. In fact, Aufgehoben has actual live drumming with the group priding itself on not using electronic processes to make the serious bleating on their records. Initially they went by the name Aufgehoben No Process just for clarification. Messidor is war music surging and softening in the progress of its battles. An absolute statement for the consumers of noise as a genre. If you are reading this line you have completed the longest review that will ever grace these pages and importantly so.

-Mr. Thistle

Aufgehoben – Coanima

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