Artist: Super Scientists
Title: B E R L I N 3 A V E P
Keywords: Noise, Illbient, Abstract, Post Rock, Ambient, Electro
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
Glaswegian group Super Scientists were one of my favourite artists on the Noise-Joy label. They only sent two things in, the first being this EP and the other a compilation of videos for music from this EP… all of which were very abstract and visually fascinating, if intensely minimal at times. I no longer possess any of those videos, sadly, but on a whim I decided to see if I could dredge any of them up from elsewhere on the internet for this review. The answer was yes! But only two videos from the Multimedia EP are up on YouTube… here are the links real fast, before we get to B E R L I N 3 A V E P itself:
Video 3 was for ‘Stormtroopers’, but I couldn’t find that one. I cheered myself up by watching other works by the visual artist behind the above, who seems to have a lot of strangely captivating video experiments uploaded on their own channel, some with music and some without.
Moving on, the music on this EP is very slow-evolving and also highly abstract, but at various times things that are going on seem really to click in the brain, at least for me, releasing endorphins maybe, as well as whatever other brain chemical stuff I stockpile in the head for albums like these.
It begins with ‘Armchair Tennis’. Sounds of people yelling in the background with reverb both natural and artificial is worked into a strange, arhythmic texture of electronic percussion and noise. A bass tone with slight distortion repeats frequently, allowing us the courtesy of time management. An ambient pad surfaces, and though it could be just an illusion, a trick of the mind, it seems as if the previously arhythmic wall of electronic noises is becoming more audibly rhythmic. The voices come back… I feel like I’m standing in a large terminal, waiting for a train. The pads are uplifting, but obscure. Regardless of where your personal focus is at, on which sounds in the mix, it’s easy to feel lost, confused, in a mess. Bits of electronic static emerge on occasion, like alarms sounding off our delirium. They become more focused and frequent. The wind is being blasted through a crack in reality someplace… it’s like a mini nuclear warhead going off several miles distant for a moment there. I come back to the pads, they’re the only thing that makes definite sense in this audioscape… and so pretty! But, as if reading my mind, they are stolen away mere seconds after that notion occurs to me. The track then fades.
Next is ‘Hauneburger’, and a strange choir of whirring electronics, or filtered wind, or just very sick dogs starts us off. These quickly convolute into some really interesting pads with a lot of depth added by the odd assortment of fractured electro percussion flitting around the head. Buzzing string synths in bandpass filter mode soar by, like a melancholic air raid is taking place. We’re gathering emotions from the strangeness of our surroundings. This would be a great choice for soundtrack to an alien abduction… I can already imagine someone drowsy, outside themselves, attempting to cope with surgical procedures of an unknown type and purpose, sees family in vats, and everything looks a mucous green as large black eyes stare out from the dark.
‘Stormtroopers’ is the last track here, and my personal favourite for the way it evolves. Deep, synthetic percussion and what sound like clips of noise from an electric guitar make up the brunt of the beginning of this track. The low synth bass sounds like the sort of sniveling, debased and perpetually hungry entity you might encounter in a very horrific nightmare. Subtleties in the sounds rise… the guitars are sweeping left and right, the overdriven white noise feels like it’s become your chest, ripping open at the force of the claws of some animal. A child’s voice comes in and then out of nowhere order emerges. The percussion, still highly distorted, sounds as if it’s gained tempo and follows a strict, staccato groove while guitar and pad textures envelop us. So beautiful, indescribable almost. Like abstract post-punk ambient music! Chillpunk. I don’t know what to call it, but it’s very nice. The chords and melodies and sounds are almost coldwave. The drums try and change up for a moment, almost sounding like a distorted breakbeat is going to come in, but it’s visage cracks instead, leaving us soon with just vapor trails of the sounds that came before.
So good! It is my wish that you will hear this album… so I’ll just slide the link underneath these words and you can take a look at it whenever you feel comfortable. Bye!