Artist: Marlo Eggplant
Title: Crisis As Opportunity
Label: Control Valve Netlabel
Cat#: ctrl vlv 040
Keywords: Sparsely Structured Notes + Layered Static Textures
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
Crisis As Opportunity is an album by Marlo Eggplant, an artist whose work shows an impeccable finesse and attention to space in its noisy, baroque method of structuring sound. At least as far as my ears are concerned. Can’t speak for yours, necessarily. 😉 According to the release notes, this was originally put out on Corpus Callosum Distro, a label the artist is or was at one time running, as a very limited edition cassette. Putting all that aside, let us hit play and see how it all unfolds.
The 1st track, ‘Hatred Under Surface’, almost sounds like a heavily distorted recording of papers being blown around, but it metamorphoses into a rhythmic barrage of overdriven noise. Fan as I am of rhythmic noise, I haven’t really heard anything quite like this. It’s very pseudo-tribal, less overtly percussive and more like wind in a bag. The reverb is cavernal, and eventually screeching nail-on-chalkboard string arrangements seem to drift in for a bit before the track degenerates further into corroded minimalism, the deepness of the textures brought on by the sheer amount of distortion and ‘verb. Very suddenly everything is sent away to be replaced with a very lovely ambient moment with subtle interplay of frequencies. It’s like being outside and becoming attuned suddenly to the power lines that surround you. Then, distorted scratching sounds predominate the soundscape. Really diverse so far!
Blasts of distorted bass kick off ‘Chump Change’, which immediately strikes me as facetious since we all know chumps never change. It sounds like a gritty acoustic string instrument is being played through a blown out amplifier.
‘Scraping Up And Out’ manages a peculiar harmony of distorted, downtuned tones and clean frets. Repetitive arrangements elicit hypnosis, but the music ends before the effect can stick.
Next is ‘Escape’. Breathy noises and percussive non-rhythms start up, the sound of it amazing.
‘Blunted’ is almost like a sonic equivalent of it’s namesake. It sounds as though it was recorded in a gymnasium and treated to sound as dirty as possible. Percussive arrangements that might as well be from another planet for how alien and bombastic they are, and yet strangely familiar… like whip cracks and feet stomping, but not. Very wild!
The next piece is ‘Tinder’, in which white noise, a scraped string and blasts of distortion make up the primary layers. Everything else is in the reverberation and sound treatments, the subtle repetitions unearthed in the moments of space. Some of the noises seem to be screaming. Very nice!
The final work is titled ‘Clawfeet’, and it is a roiling, contrabass wall of distortion. Occasional sharp noise blasts float in, and then the track tapers off in a hiss.
Really cool, I enjoyed it. You probably will too, if you love noise. You can get this fascinating album from the Control Valve Netlabel at this link:
Or, if you prefer, you can download the thing directly at this other link. Enjoy!