CD Review

Null_Objct – “The Blind Clockmaker”

By Marcus Pan

The Blind ClockmakerNull_Objct – I've dealt with so many null bands lately; /null/dev, Null Device, Null Factor – are a very interesting collective. I've coined the term "fractal music" for their sound. They (seemingly) randomly mix and match sounds and strains together, much like TWG would do with his fractal illustration. The end result is a loosely collected body of aural interesting strangeness, held together by low cut beats and drum 'n bass scratchings and pulsations.

Odd, weird, held together by a shaved piece of twine, the various noises revolve around each other only barely creating an actual piece of music. The end result is one of the most interesting CDs to date, something you'd expect to hear at the most surreal of raves. If Dionysus and his entourage were to arrive in this century armed with synthesizers, computers and a guitar they'd make sounds like this as they tore apart the onlookers and poured wine down their partying gullets.

A lot of the strangeness is owed to composer Gary Hebert's live guitar, adding in layers of strums and plucked whines as beat lines punch their way around the feedback. It comes out sounding more like a stoner guitarist's paradise after a weekend long binge of peyote and X. I'm only just realizing that throughout this entire review I haven't yet delivered a verdict on Null_Objct's The Blind Clockmaker. At first it made me want to scream – but the CD has a way of growing on you. I wouldn't go so far as to call it pleasant as I would call it outright strange in the sound's permeation of your brain.

The Blind Clockmaker opens up right away with False Positive, a track that gets more intense as it moves along just before breaking into a rapid fire drum ‘n bass groove around which are high-intensity synthesizer whines and live-played guitar strums and high-pitch feedback. The track slips into surreal engravings of sound architecture and strangeness that seems to get lost but always finds it’s way back to the rhythm. Come Down From There gets almost futuristic in its make-up, but Gary’s guitar is there infusing its way between high-pitched synths, funky bass and estranged rhythms.

Turn Inward gets light and fluffy with tinkling chirps and smooth futuristic keyboard licks that remind me of work by Spacescape(1) and Esion(2). By the fifth track, the self-titled song on the album, the music gets downright plodding, dragging itself along a bed of stones and dark chorales. The guitars give the track a much needed lift however. Amsterdamage also starts slow and boorish. You’ll find this happen on occasion throughout The Blind Clockmaker.

But somehow it grows on you. Why it does is an uncertainty, since it’s very difficult to say that I “like” The Blind Clockmaker. But somehow, deep down, as strange as the disc is I think I might.

(1) Legends #134 had a review of SpaceScape’s latest, Ex-Plor-A-Tion.
(2) An all time favorite of future pop, see the review of En Route in Legends #102.
Contact Information:
Null Objct
Post: 2811 Scott Pl., Los Angeles, CA 90026, USA
Phone: (323) 662-7437
E-Mail: gary@nullobjct.com
Web: www.nullobjct.com