Artist: TOTAL E.T.
Keywords: Electronic, Ambient, Drone, Experimental, Industrial, Noise
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
This feels like chapter 2 of some great saga… in chapter 1 (T.R.I.v.M.’s album Subtracks), we found that all of the artist’s material on that work had been compiled from the things he’d submitted to various compilation albums on several labels. This one takes a similar approach. Like with my last review of his work, I will link to the individual compilations each of the tracks were originally a part of, so there will be a massive number of links in this review…
… BUT, there’s a catch! I’m feeling tricky tonight… so we’re going to turn this into a game, of sorts. For each track, I am going to list two different titles of compilations that the track came from. One will be the correct one, which you must guess, because the other… let’s just say it will be a link to something… shitty… *evil laughs*
… sound like fun? No? Well… I’m sorry that you feel that way, but this is what life is all about, (son/daughter/pet/reader). I’m glad we’ve had this talk. But it is now time to… commence!
First, we have ‘Slow Scan’… I hear strange burbling liquid noises… queasy! Some scraping electronic noises fade in, it sounds as if a hive full of bees were all running their stingers down a chalkboard. The drones begin to dissolve, but the bubbles are still boiling. But now the harsh electronics have returned, seeming more fierce than even before. The harsh noise seems to wind down into a strange ambient texture concentrated into a mid-range frequency. This track was either from:
A) The Human Condition – Dedications To Philip K. Dick
B) The Human Centipede – Dedications To Doctor Heiter
Next is ‘Total Engine Test Pt.II’, which sounds like someone starting an engine, maybe to a machine that grinds apple cores and corn husks into mulch? I’m imagining some large machine with giant flat teeth munching on garbage! It’s actually quite pleasing, somehow! And then it begins to turn into a distorted gnashing, almost like cheap guitar amp drive. I would consider this as repetitive industrial meditation muzak, something I would put on if I were the self-loathing foreman of an industrial warehouse to listen to in my office while I popped xanax.
Now, for the q&a… was this from:
A) Sound Interpretations — Dedication To William Gibson
B) Ass Conflagrations — Dedication To Diarrhea
Then it’s time for ‘Alien Abducted Drum Machine’, which sounds at first like washes of noise, into which we hear some strange drum programs. This is awesome! Very choppy and arhythmic, with gusts of reverb floating around throughout. I keep trying to figure out what machine this might be, but a lot of the sounds make it difficult to tell. After awhile I start hearing what sound like distant horn pads… I hear many strange things here. It ends with what sounds like tape static!
I hope you survived that last round… was this from:
A) Institute For Anal Research Compilation “The Butt Sounds From Way Out” (Volume Five)
B) Institute For Alien Research Compilation “The Beat Sounds From Way Out” (Volume Five)
‘Space Intox’ sounds like buzzing lobit dark ambient noise, my head is full of choppy bitscapes. I hear breathing, some kind of whispered siren in the background, very alien noises! There’s a bit of rumbling as well, like a creaky door being manipulated sonically. There’s a knock, a blast of machine-gun fire. The multitude of frequencies threaten to overwhelm the senses, like the muddled chatter of too many voices making it difficult to focus on any one thing. Toward the end it sounds like an arcade machine with a broken circuit!
This will be the hardest round yet… was this from:
A) Obscure Awakening
B) … Poo Poo Awakening
Next we get to hear ‘Etherapeutic’, which begins with an odd electro modulation sequence sounding like it could be bouncing / reflecting off of a magnetic puddle, maybe of mercury? Very sonically intriguing! The shifting nature of the backgrounds is a focal point for me, as I detect mutations occurring with relative frequency. At various points it sounds as if something is slamming down hard, and the dripping sticks grow louder at many intervals. The white noise also seems to swell in the mix, rising and dissipating very gradually.
Do you think you can guess which compilation this originated from?:
A) Album In A Day Volume 5
B) Dump In A Day Volume 5
Then it’s ‘Fingering The Atom’, which just sounds sexy… and I haven’t even played the track yet! Science ahoy! It sounds as if a carnival cheese wagon is rolling into my brain, and it’s beautiful and horrifying simultaneously. It quickly begins to turn into a stretchy, destructively mangled piece of carnivalesque noise! Distorted drum grooves, tiny voice clips inserted, extreme tones. It’s amazing.
This must have been from either:
A) To The Shittiest One
B) To The Prettiest One
Another great track called ‘Insideep’ comes next, sounding like a gurgling, spitting robot! It goes quickly into what sounds to me like cartoon effects spinning out of control in a whirlwind, but it’s also very dark with the way it’s produced, heavy and thick like a molasses of downpitched samples. Later it sounds more mechanical, jarring, like aggravated machines having a boxing match in slow motion.
It’s time again for the quiz… was this track from:
A) Faeces Circuits
B) Easter Circuits
‘Alien Ants In Psilopants’ sounds like some lo-fi, grinding noise! Little blips of distorted bass tones frequently interrupt your broadcast like some kind of frenetic Morse code while cash register or typewriter sound-a-like white noise static lurks in the background. Then we go into some kind of tribal wind chime noises with further distortion cutting in. This one was a lot of fun!
So was this from:
A) (Running Down) Your Leg All The Time
B) One Leg At A Time
‘Pulsion V.02’ sounds like intense, slow-motion percussion and digitized feedback. There’s a low growling bass that’s almost ambient creeping around in the background. In my mind I’m imagining a home recording of a car crash, or car crash dummies being crushed among steel, plasticine and shards of glass while this plays. It’s almost like what I would imagine the unconscious, shock-addled experience of being pulled out of a wreck would feel like, what your head might sound like while things seemed to just be happening around you, out of your control. It ends with a strange, warped ambient sequence!
Was this from:
A) Noise Therapy II
B) Shit Noise
… yeah, that last one was a trick question, because I couldn’t think of anything. xD
Anyway, the next track is titled ‘Slow Short Acid’, which sounds like a bunch of growling and some ticking clocks being blown apart by atom bombs! Not much in the way of any acid type sounds on this track, but it’s interesting. Very short, too, at 0:52.
Here we go again!.. was this track from a compilation called:
A) Gimme A Minute
B) Gimme An Hour (I’ve Gotta Take A Shit And I’ll Probably Hop In The Shower Real Quick Unless There Are A Bunch Of Random Dudes Hanging Out In There) — Dedicated To NMMREM … every time I see NMMREM in print I think to myself, “never mind my rapid eye movements?”
Lastly, we come to a track titled ‘Solarctic’. I hear a stretched out, dark ambient textures… itsthat sounds like toxic metal alloids breeding on the surface of a distant planet. It sounds like a planet with a poisonous atmosphere… maybe Venus, though I guess that isn’t as distant in a relative sense as the countless others that populate the known universe. Screeching feedback hits the ears on occasion… needs oil badly! Gaseous wisps of stardust scream overhead, bizarre flora accustomed to a world of hostile elements seem to disrupt our senses with noxious spores. An aurora sizzles in the sky.
I guess that means we’ve come to the end of our quiz… it is time for the final question… was this from:
A) Fudge Therapy I
B) Noise Therapy I
My apologies for all the toilet humor… anyway, I hope you enjoyed the games. Did you win? I wasn’t keeping score. But, be sure to check out this amazing sonic compilation of sounds from the always cool and highly experimental TOTAL E.T. at the following link: