REVIEW: V/A – “This is Underground V1.0”

By JHR

Chain Border

This is Underground V1.0Ok, were I feeling a little more like being a performance or conceptual artist, I could review this CD as if it were a hardy breed of mountain goat – corners like a pig on stilts and the fuel economy's terrible – or I could review a completely different CD in the style of Vim Fuego. But my brain hurts and if I have to listen to anything louder than Autechre or Pole, I want to hunt down those responsible and dismember them with an angle-grinder.

First out of the tunnel and on to the pitch, we find Complex Machine. It's tripped-out and dubby and I approve mightily. A simple groove (but then they're always the best ones) complemented by twiddly ethnic malarkey which breaks down regularly into some splendidly earthmoving bass. Over far too soon. The Sins kick off with a very brief Doors impersonation. Then it all goes a bit generic DCD-alike with the overwrought bloke singing slightly outside of his range. There's a longish violin solo that makes one wonder if there's a person behind it, or if the band stands there on stage looking sheepish while the synths rock out.

After The End mix woppa-woppa machine drums, busy Amigademo bass and some plink-plonk melody. The strings fill the whole out nicely, but it's still all annoyingly rectangular and just plods along getting more complicated rather than more interesting. Like a tediously long-lived relationship. Genesis Code seek to disguise the lack of anything going on in the song by fiddling savagely with the various knobs on the delay boxes in the studio (ok, back bedroom). And there are threateningly-whispered vocals, which doesn't dispose me well to anyone. I bet if they made a video for this it would feature Soviet troops marching in time to the beat. Is that what you want? Does that sort of martial imagery appeal? Because you all would be first to be locked away if people like that seized power.

Just when you think Written In Ashes have created a song that's all intro, there's some one-fingered bleepoid synthwork that's completely at odds with the rest of what's going on. It sounds slightly like a Snog song with some of the multitrack missing. Perhaps after the tapes were involved in an unfortunate incident. It doesn't do much more than shuffle around threateningly like a drunken tramp in a big sack, though. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't find this sort of thing challenging. Annoying, possibly. But not challenging (other than to listen to all the way through...). Eden Automatic sound like they should be making transmission parts for hot-rods, but bring to mind a Jefferson Airplane who've been awake for several days listening to Portishead. A splendid mixture, in my entirely unjustified opinion. I'd lay odds that half the band play gigs barefoot, mind.

Given that I am a devotee of Spike Milligan, any band called 'Q' is going to have an uphill struggle... But there are interesting echoes of Battery here. Only with big fuck-off MeTaL guitar-work and squitty 303 noises. This is dead good and I would like to hear more. The song's called Fade and I commend you to seek it/them out. I don't normally have a thing for howling madwomen, but in this case... Live Not On Evil are like old-skool deathpunks who would have been on Alternative Tentacles in a parallel universe. Definite moshpit frenzy. Fine stuff and absolutely recommended. Five Star Dive sound startlingly 80s. Exactly the sort of post-Cure/Cult band I'd expect to hear on the Peel Programme circa 1985. Bass that other people would call driving and guitar lines that owe something to Robert Smith. Not bad things, but the previous two bands are hard acts to follow.

Nearly Forgotten channel Whitesnake very successfully. Hey, and indeed, ho. Let's stop. Oh, and Still Warm really really want to be on Waxtrax ten years ago. An interesting ambition, but for the lack of functional time-machines. Voodoo Dawn do that northern European thing that's little more than synth pad and angry shouting as the drum-machine is knocked flying yet again. Oh, it's stopped. Good. Random squitty (again) synth-noises announce the arrival of Neuroverse at platform seven. There appears to be little in the way of tune or song, just the squitty noises holding hands. Which they/s/he would get away with if the beats were a lot less complicated and settled into some loping kind of techno groove. Think early Underworld, not Bill bloody Leeb, chaps.

Ceoxime make pretty much the same mistake, only the trippily-pulsing synth and languid (female) vocals more than make up for it. I swear, so many of these bands should be made to listen to Juan rather than Martin Atkins until they become enlightened. The Gothsicles manage to sound like Blockbuster-era Sweet, only with more swearing. A frankly scary prospect. Is that Complex Machine attempting an Orbital cover? Well, it kicks off with that 'Satan Satan Satan' sample... Hell, I don't care. It's an utterly corking racket. The sort of loopy headspin stuff that's an essential part of any sensible person's record collection. Listen to that? See? (Hear) That's a proper groove that gets people down and funky and on the dancefloor. And if they play Endif directly after, you risk serious knee injury if you attempt to dance to it/them in a careless manner. I'm not sure that I've heard glitch-industrial before, and I believe I rather care for what I hear. It's the sound of someone beating a sampler to death with a hammer and a splendid way of closing the CD.

Contact data: Nothing that I can find. Google for 'Dekonstruktion Records'. Maybe there were other bits of paper that travelled separately? Who can say? A mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a filou pastry shell. Or Tampa, Florida. Possibly.

Contact Information:
Post: Dekonstruction Records, 1817 Oak Trail West #206, Clearwater, FL, 33764, USA
Phone: (727) 530-3498
E-Mail: mortimer_steel@lycos.com
Web: http://dekonrec.tripod.com

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