Asolaar – Interceptor (Kvitnu, 2014)

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It’s done, it’s over, University life has come to an end. I apologise to everyone who is waiting on reviews and things; upkeep of this site does take a backseat when it comes to finals. But now that it’s all done and I have a few tired, hungover moments to reflect, I thought I might tackle the appropriately massive and cathartic Interceptor, a fresh new release from the Noise-centric Kvitnu label.

Crushing opener “Temor Al Autovox” is deceptive at first, lulling us into a false sense of security with its momentary introductory silence before it quickly ramps up into heavy walls of wobbling noise, spoken words hiding behind a veil of whispery processing and destructive, erosive sound that ebbs and flows, moving in and out of significance like the evolution of a river channel. The title track isnt far behind after what seems like aeons, bringing some semblance of rhythm in the pulses of barely discernible guitar drone that dominates the skyline, morphing the organic into the mechanical, it feels like, in a relatively brief but rather excitable, and almost explosive, bitesized track.

“Gravastar” is another even more digestible piece barely over a minute long, a low-key affair that personifies the habitual in its cruising, dark background drones and cyclical rushes of intermittent noise overtaking one another as they switch from on and off, rising and falling through sleep and work. Some of the more minimalistic elements are transferred to followup “Cruce Magnético II” but everything’s been given a shot and suddenly we’ve jumped a few volume levels; there’s still that oscillation, that cyclicity but there’s something extra too, a new dynamism and an eagerness to evolve and throw some diversity into the fray with its distal shouts and almost grooving guitar lines through its core.

At four minutes, “Lord H. Mohawk” is the longest track of this 25 minute release, and given its additional growing room it capitalises on this enormously. It expands into view carefully, ballooning outwards in a growing tidal wave of intoxicatingly abrasive noise, growling and stuttering but never fumbling, an anti-vista of sound, a black hole of oppressive, claustrophobic sonic destruction that never seems to want to end, finding new ways to prolong its abrasive motion. Eventually it succumbs to entropy but “Emptiness Dealers” picks up immediately with piercing noise lines and thick, throbbing, bass heavy blasts of juddering sound and depressive vocal moans; it’s surprisingly melancholy and affecting despite its rather short duration.

“Cruce Magnético III” is much like its precursor but its black whispered vocals are distorted into menacing meaninglessness amidst punishing and cruel spikes and jabs, sonic barbs that stroke the fabric or the skin or the piece before breaking through with a crunching growl. It’s a nice introduction to the best track of the album in my eyes, the true rhythms of the Tron-esque “Random Violence”. The noise is shaped into waveforms with a strong groove, like we’re seeing some kind of internal computer struggle as the ones and zeros flicker by to create meaningful, expressive content that we can appreciate, echoes cascading off the digital walls as they go. Mysterious and appreciatively downtempo “0028-13” brings us almost to the end of the record as it reduces the enthusiasm and scale of “Random Violence” and throws it under the reverb bus, the same beat structures smeared into a mindless mulch of heavy drone.

The finalé “Lu In Dimension” is a surprisingly unsurprising closer I suppose; the evolution from the start of the album is complete as it abandons the randomness and aimlessness of the noise and takes on an entirely more rigid, almost melodic approach, powering through in its crooning guitar lines and densely crunching repetitive riff, coming off bold and empowered but not overbearing, conscious of its aggressive and chaotic beginnings and careful to avoid them again. I like that, the subtle evolution charted through this record’s little mini-pieces culminating in this closer; the larger tracks carve out the important moments and give them some gravity but the interstitial space bridges the gap between events, periods of reflection that prelude life’s more important moments and determine how they’re tackled. It’s clever and thoughtful in its big and sometimes mean way, you just have to look beyond the simplicity and the seemingly undiverse sonic repertoire to engage with it.

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