Arkam AsylumRunning With Scissors
Not terribly hot on the heels
of an interview(1), we have what turned out to be the last Arkam Asylum album.
Actually, the various Arkam bits have disinterestedly followed one another like
corporation dustcarts in the mating season.
The larval stage of the dustcart is the wheelybin. The
parent dustcart visits each of the larvae regularly where they are turned and
fussed over by the attendant worker drones. After several years, the wheelybins
climb to the top of lamp-posts where they are carried aloft by seagulls and
deposited at the back of scrapyards up and down the land. Several months later,
the outer case of the wheelybin splits open to reveal a milkfloat, which
trundles off to harden its carapace in the early sunlight. As the years pass
and it matures, the milkfloat casts off its old skins, progressing through
small side-loading refuse wagon, small and large recycling truck (at which
point it attracts its first worker drones) before becoming a fully-grown
Anyway. Arkam. On this album they appear to have progressed
in a direction best described as 'unlikely.' Not that this is a collection of
bangin' speed-garage floorfillers though it would be more than a little
entertaining to write the review as if it were. They've just got... Slower.
While the first CD sounded like a speeding tourette's sufferer lobbing bricks
through a greenhouse at a pile of wavy tin, this one's a little
more...measured. One can actually make out what's going on without danger of
drowning in a tide of bile and spittle.
Sometimes, anyway. Sometimes it sounds like Discharge or
(the legendary) Throwing Bricks At Coppers lurching around in a short-wave
wireless museum. Sometimes it sounds like a darkcore drill&bass
accompaniment to a partly political broadcast by the Democratic Ruthless
Bastards. $laves and Whores manages to sound an awful lot like late-model LFO
or Autechre played on guitars, floor-sander and Rolf Harris's wobbleboard. Very
fine indeed. McFuck hammers together a Casio home organ playing very
quickly indeed and a pile of annoying ringtones, then videotapes them drunkenly
shouting "WAP WAP WAP WAP WAP WAP WAP FUCKING WAP" at passing kebab vans.
Actually, if I think about it for any longer than thirty
seconds, I can't help being reminded of Sigue Sigue Sputnik. The parts are all
there semi-random obsession with consumer/trash culture (though rather
than celebrate the thing, this lot are pulling the legs off and giving it brass
wheels), lumps of anime and cyber/urban dystopia dropped in like super-dense
ingots of Potential Future... Only the guitar's a lot less rubbish.
Then there's Special Victims Unit, which stars like
the banjo bit from Deliverance before going on to quote at length from
Wilhem Reich and/or Bill Burroughs while odd noises race square wheelbarrows
past 'The assassination of JFK considered as a downhill motor race.'
Overall, a faint smell of fried onions.
printed in Legends #143.
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