Friday, May 20, 2011

Family Underground - Demon Parade [DNT]

I feel like it's been a while since Danish drone hounds Family Underground dropped a record and considering Demon Parade is one of their best, I'm wondering if they've been holding out on us. What other sounds do they have locked up in the vault?
"Son of the Morning" features what I consider to be the classic Fam Underground sound. Jagged electronic drones, agitation situated within stagnation and slow-motion. Some tones stay static, serrating at an even pace while another tone is gradually jostled back and forth between pitches. There's a dose of unintelligible vocal muck in the midst of it all. You know I've been thinking it was vocals but it may be a horn of some sort, really can't say. The more I listen, the less I know. A strange, plink-plonk melody emerges barely towards the end of the track lending a rigid, rhythmic sway. This track should keep all the fans satisfied but it's the following tracks that I found the most interesting. "The Spectral Janitor" (killer title by the way) is heavy on the violin drones which I am all about. The Family keeps the piece in the pocket, not too abrasive but not too smooth or pretty either. With strange permutations from each sound source occurring throughout, the piece evolves very subtly, with an array of sounds constantly shifting within a certain framework. Nice work.
The second side is two tracks merged as one, "Singly Lost, Eternally Gained Part One and Two." Dark as hell, the thing rolls to a start with a bowed drone, a barren bass pound every 10 seconds and what sounds like a noisy recording of a boxcar. Gradually the plot thickens, more sounds enter and the affair gets noisier but no less bleak. When "Part One" reaches its breaking point and shuffles off into darkness, "Part Two" appears with a slightly more optimistic tone. Whaaa? Are these guys actually going to end on an upbeat note? The distorted oscillations are still present but so is a chiming keyboard part, synth squelch and even some vague axe moves. I'll take it. That's not as surprising as what happens next. Out of the cacophony comes a totally bizarre groove. Like Excepter doing trip hop, maybe? A little? I don't know man, cause it isn't some accidental thing. There's a bass line, a heavily effected percussion track and then a totally sloshed voice comes into focus. Yes, this has happened. Family Underground have made a disco record. Fuck. Yes. Please excuse me while I board this soul train and ride it to the end of the groove. All aboard!
Considering the past couple Family Underground LPs and that Attestupa record, DNT is really holding it down when it comes to dark-ass Scandinavian sounds. Keep 'em comin'. Demon Parade may even be the best of 'em though it's hard to turn down the plague-ridden rage of that Attestupa record.
Sparse and ambiguously great artwork from DNT completes the package. Check this bastard out.

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