REVIEW: Miscreant – “Acclimate”

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Chain Border

Coronal Mass EjectionRequiring a patient ear and an open mind, Michigan's Artemis K has created elaboration from the mundane, innovation from the trivial. He has created coldwave electronica that bends and says "get bent" with Acclimate, a high evolutionary conceptualization disc that seems inspired by the pages of the underground fantasy magazine Heavy Metal, with its rise of the machines storyline. Aggravating at first, one is tempted to blow Acclimate off as another experimentalist hunk of garbage, but soon it becomes apparent that Artemis K has created a convincing and artistic story arc through his work.

Vrolok begins with thrumming synthesizers that reflect dashes of Pink Floyd and Alan Howarth, which keeps it from being purely nonsensical. The marching groove by the track's end is practically usurped by the seven minute muckfest of Paris De-Rezz, a garbled, disjointed mess that allows a calm synth note to peek in before mauling it to death. Herein lies the trick; one ear tells the listener this is irredeemable, while a reflection upon it after hearing the rest of Acclimate shows this is the portion of Artemis K's story where the machines have made their destructive force known. Proselytized v2.5 is artistic, epic and, upon first impression, befuddling with its exhilarating opening that is engulfed by a dirge of chaotic scraping and fusion. Citing his source material on Proselytized as being supplied by "Akifumi Kakajima using only a bible," one can hear Kakajima's shaky narration which is slaughtered by the manic ersatz coming into play. In other words, the message has been delivered by the soothsayer and blown to bits in an immediate realization of his prophecy.

WordsQuake is a minute thirty-six coldwave crush that is sensibly titled and felt, drastically. Digital: [metal] Fuck, checks in at close to nine-minutes, which sounds like a digital basilisk devouring its groove bit-by-bit. In terms of the storyline, this track serves as a rape, individually, and upon society as a whole. It is unnerving and overlong, yet is serves as a chilly reminder that technology in real-time is soon looking to overrun us.

One of Acclimate's finest moments is on the fifty-eight second Daughters, Mothers, Fathers, in which the immediate distortion slips into an interesting goth keyboard melody that is striking and smart, and marks the point where Artemis K's borderline nonsensicum dwells into pure artistry. Black Atom screeches into gear with a killer trip hop groove that completely shifts the focus of the disc, a bass-in-your-face matrix dance that is brought to a halt with Automatonically Correct, which features an anamorphosis of trance and disorder. There seems to exist a celebratory demeanor to carnage and mayhem that insinuates the age of the machine is rapidly at hand. Sidebar: Is it just me, or did I hear a distinct sample of the famous THX Sound byte? Hmm...

And So it Goes marks the point in the storyline where change has become inevitable. There is a calm trance inflamed with paranoia by sinister waves and sirens that build on its preceding track. The song defrags itself, much as technology is defragging human society in the story. The eerie conclusion of And So it Goes is heartfelt by the dissipating I love you that vanishes and is vanquished into a hateful screwing on Can't Fuck on Nitrous, another soothing moment ripped aplomb with fuzz grind that literally zaps the song's core, indicating sexual conquest by the new dominators. One can't help but nod appreciatively at the parting shot "Was it good for you?" at the track's end.

WordsThinner than Water hurts within the opening moments, making the listener feel raw pain, not only his ears, but also for the downfallen humanity which is left in spirals of confusion, spirals spun by Artemis K, who drops his trashed subjects into Green Worlds Past, an aquatic, serene moment that indicates a shift in time, as well as power. Four Hours Ago has a somewhat cautious groove that invites a highly welcome syncopation march that announces his story's new dawn. This track legitimizes K as a true artist. The Mago Remix rounds off the disc in great fashion, more slick trip hop that doesn't seem as much a part of the story as it does to serve a boss groove for an enterprising MC. It is a reward unto itself.

If there are any true complaints about Acclimate, it's the tendency to go on a bit longer than is necessary at times, which seems to be a founding principle to this subgenre of outlaw music. Where Artemis K succeeds in relation to his contemporaries is his progressive thinking, his ability to homogenize pure composition with experimental decomposition, the latter of which this reviewer admittedly is sometimes at odds with. Acclimate, though, is a step in the right direction towards the inevitable marriage of classical thought and modern transience.

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