irr. app. (ext.) + Blue Sabbath Black Cheer
So here's the thing… This combination released the best album of the year awhile back—Skeletal Copula Remains on Gnarled Forest/Errata in Excelsis—and they haven't really ever put out anything that didn't blow me away. I pay a lot of lip service to both acts—especially BSBC—and for good reason. They have some of the best aural judgment in music/anti-music today. Both BSBC and irr. app. (ext.) belong on the short list of Throbbing Gristle, Faust, Man is the Bastard, Nurse with Wound, Coil, NON, Merzbow, Wolf Eyes and SUNN0))), plus the others I have forgotten at the moment. Groups that have pushed this strange anti-genre forward. All that aside I must confess that this cd is not my favorite outing by either BSBC or ire. app. (ext.) and that is strange to me. It's still better than most things I have heard lately. Don't get me wrong, but it feels a little thrown together. The movements sort of meander a bit. There are these big spoken word moments that sort of take me out of the experience and the levels of the sounds seem a little off. I don't know. I have listened to it twice now and I will probably listen to it a few more times. I may change my opinion but I think this is missing a little of the brutality and anxiety that earlier endeavors have born.
I'm not really into the layout either, which probably doesn't help. The artwork is pretty good but it kinda feels like after this no one is ever allowed to use skulls again in a layout. They have all been used up. The type is all just center justified and just sorta of sits on the page in a way that isn't so much utilitarian but kinda boring. There are photos of all the people involved inside, and I like that, but again, they are just sorta laid on the page in a way that seems like an afterthought. Also you can tell that they took pictures in different places with different light and sometimes with different backgrounds. I think if you are going to use photographs of the participants in a mug-shot type way all the pictures should look the same. As if they were all taken at the same time in the same place. The lack of cohesion I think makes this not work very well. I don't know. I'm being a little extra critical because both BSBC and irr. app. (ext.) are so fucking good. This is good but it fails to get a "fucking good" this time.