Monday, May 16, 2011

Dave Smolen/hair_loss - Split [_bruxist/Injections Limited]

Yeah baby, this split LP is a hearty slab of Philly electro-noise. Dave Smolen, governor of Malleable Records, takes the A and hair_loss (no caps when you spell the man's name,) also a perpetrator of sonic terror in noise-rock duo Snowstorm, takes the flip.
From the outset I will say this record looks awesome; clear, green, thick and Joe Lentini did one hell of a job mastering this son of a bitch. It sounds killer. Smolen starts ravin' from the word go. "Bionisensitivity" bumps hard underneath a looped guitar or keyboard melody. From there he layers on copious amounts of cut-up freak noise over the steady stomp. Actually it's not a stretch whatsoever to spin this at a club. Smolen always keeps things pumpin' even when he's throwing curves. The track has a lengthy deceleration process. Like that slasher that refuses to die, you think the sucker's on the ropes but it somehow gathers enough energy to come at you again. When Smolen does pull the plug it's in favor of the icy stabs of "Stitchglide." After lulling you into a trance, Smolen rips the thing wide open with a machine-gun marching drum machine and squelching synth-bass. Nice. Smolen manages quite a tightrope act here, balancing fierce throbs and chilled out keyboard bleeps and coos. Don't ask me how but he pulls it off; he just does. "Manual Control (III)" concludes his side. It seems a good deal shorter than the previous tracks and is focused much more on percussive sounds. It amounts more or less to a thumping drum machine solo over a filtered synth-loop. My least favorite piece on the side but I'm a melody guy so that figures.
I like the choice in sequencing for this LP, Smolen takes you to the club (a forward-thinking club, granted) and then hair_loss burns the fuckin' thing to the ground. "Eyes up to the Glass Bottom" throws all sorts of sounds at you but not too intensely, it doesn't want to scare you away, it's chill, it ain't gonna freak on you... not. Mr. _loss gives you a taste of whats to come with an explosive jump into highly groovin' but still midtempo territory. "Hair Dryer Funk" though, dang homie, that track is slammin'. Uppin' the ante with a super punchy and fuzzy bassline and then goin' all in with a stuttering percusssssive loop, the track's like a minute long but it will get you movin' in no time. hair_loss's work is so frenetic with sounds accosting you from every angle, it's pretty bizarre that it manages to still feel like a club record. "Borrowing Sugar" is a good example of this, sounds sourced from who knows where originally all throwdown in this abstract lockstep. Totally complex, totally weird and totally bangin'. Despite getting thrown off course a time or two they find their way back home into the enchanted forest of beats. "Window Over Yellow" throws a big curve, with nothing but a looped drone to start out on. A clicking drum track crops up at one point and gets it's filter settings molested. Playing 'em close to the chest, it's not clear until later just where the track is headed, which oddly enough is the mellow place it started at. Mr. Smolen gets in on the action for the final track titled simply "B." It crashes to a start with bursts of noise shredding up every potential shot at a beat. A super messy dancefloor smasher finally pulls itself together and things go off. Fuck splits these guy gotta do a whole record together! You hear both brains in play here, hair_loss in all his zany, sound-crazed glory and Smolen comin' through with the strong, much-enjoyed, ass-shaking groove underneath. Hell of a closer.
If you're into Philly's unique form of noise, this is a no-brainer. If your unfamiliar with said noise, well here's your shot to get two of the sharpest minds in the game on one slab of wax.
Limited to only 100 copies (yikes!) and at 12 bucks postpaid I doubt there's many left. You can get the record here but there's also mp3s of the record available on Amazon released through Injections Limited if you don't have a turntable (though what a sad life that would be...)

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