CD Review

Asylum – “Rattus in Sanguine”

By Marcus Pan

Rattus in SanguineBefore I really begin this review of Asylum’s Rattus in Sanguine release I have to go to Wikipedia and look up “kraut rock.” I’ve come across this term two or three times so far and I’m still fuzzy on it. So…

Kraut rock: “Krautrock is a generic name for the experimental bands who appeared in Germany in the early 1970s.”

Hmm. According to the Angel Machine biography I received with this CD, that’s one of the things Asylum mixes into Rattus in Sangine, as well as industrial, techno, electronic and EBM. So this will be an experimental CD…very good. I now know something of what to expect. I do suggest to term-coiners from hereon out that we don’t use the word “rock” when describing most ambient and/or experimental work – most of it doesn’t “rock” much at all, really. And it’s kind of floaty a lot of the time so it doesn’t sound like anything heavy, like say a boulder, so let’s call it “krautasphere,” “krautbient” or something from here on out. Thanks. Onward.

This band, Asylum, has changed their name to Angel Machine now. So this is the final Asylum release. I’m ok with that. For the most part Rattus in Sanguine is one of your standard basement-ambient attempts, with a bit more control than most experimentalists provide. There’s the occasional rhythm, for example, like the boorish steps through Everybody’s Dead thrown up against an unmoving wall of synthetic wash.

I’m moving into track four now as I ramble in my LiveJournal about inconsequential things and, frankly, the ambient movement of it all gets stuck in pause even as it plays. Lesbo Sado Dance adds a more rigorous beat into it and the sliding cacophony that comes in for some reason reminds me of those crazy F-machine pr0n sites. I don’t know what that’s about, but I think I won’t be analyzing this track anymore.

It gets really confusing at track seven, Human Model, which is the first to sound musical. The only issue is the musical version we have here has been played and recorded already quite a number of times, though admittedly the synth melody can get a little unpredictable which is nice. But other than that I’ve heard all of these sounds before in standard trance. Man & Machine tries to keep the more musical nature that Human Model started after so much breathy static wash, but moves about as fast as a skateboarding earthworm. Ancient Poets opens up a stock-rhythm movement that, like the melody of Human Model, was done already.

The problem with Rattus in Sanguine is simply it’s not that good. The ambient pieces are uninspired and laced with doldrums. The musical pieces are boorishly rehashed and about as fresh as yogurt. When it tries to be witty it uses old jokes. When it tries to be sublime I fall asleep. Asylum aka Angel Machine just aren’t doing it for me folks. It makes me wonder where the past six years of his practice went with the first Asylum release being 1999.

Contact Information:
Dead Love Records