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Electronics: Mandible Chatter, Northern Machine, Psychetropic

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MANDIBLE CHATTER: Of Foreign Lands and People (CD on Relapse Records)

This release from 2003 offers 65 minutes of industrial sound sculptures.

Mandible Chatter is: Neville Harson and Grant Miller. This release is produced by ambient maestro Robert Rich, whose soundboard guidance crystallizes the environmental chaos into a stirring urban soundscape.

This music is comprised of strange sounds mixed with conventional instruments, producing a harsh ambience that is not intended for meditative states, but rather goads the mind to unfamiliar associations, drawing connections between cacophaony and inspired coherence. Melodies emerge from the crunching E-perc and blooping diodes and twirling effects and tortured guitars and rumbling basslines and lilting violin and...well, there are hundreds of momentarily employed sonics in the band's efforts to compress a bevy of clashing noises into a flowing unity. Although vocals are not used, mouth noises contribute to the overall gestalt.

Exhibiting far more harmonious content than most abstract constructs, this music possesses an aerial quality, lifting the audience to a vantage that regards normally unconnected sounds with fresh cameraderie. Dissonance becomes a common thread that is redirected into fluid structure, resulting in industrial moods that evoke humanity through an absence of organic disposition.

Imagine the Residents colliding with musuque concrete.

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NORTHERN MACHINE: Staalhertz (CD on Hoffman Cleaner Cathode Company)

This release from 2003 features 49 minutes of industrial electronics.

Northern Machine is: Bill Warford and Pat Gillis.

Harsh electronics and mechanical rhythms are integral to Northern Machine's sound. Strangled guitar also appears, providing astral overtones for the gritty foundation. The electronics are frantic and brutal, but their application is strangely lilting, harnessed into diligent melodies that stir rather than agitate. Cruel cybernetic outbursts are goaded into managable riffs, then navigated to generate sweeping harmonics that exude authoritative posture. Order is produced from chaos, and the results are compelling and entertaining. The percussion is artificially induced, retaining a robotic demeanor despite its unpredictible nature. Whirling blades of sound soar dangerous close overhead, establishing an air of menace that permeates the electronic miasma.

Compositionally, the tunes are simple, but rarely sparse. A mood of antagonism is pleasantly tainted with dreamy sensibilities, resulting in aggressive sedation for those who require nastiness in their music. Even the more ambient tracks display a subliminal hostility that keeps the audience on edge with a sense of repressed tension ready to explode without warning.

Two tracks were recorded live during the Oyster Madness with guests: Cadence Carroll, Carsten Ginsberg, John Konrad, and Cheryl Sobas.

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PSYCHETROPIC: China Radio Sunshine (CDR on Microrelease)

This release from 2003 features 55 minutes of dreamy electronic music.

Psychetropic is Todd Fletcher.

Sparkling textures fill the air, punctuated by heavenly chords and unearthly tones. Electronic embellishments ricochet off each other, combining to generate pleasant melodies that stir the subconscious with their gentle vibrations. Many of the sounds carry a crystalline disposition, delivering a congenial chill to the harmonics. Keyboards guide these sounds into swaying structures that arc through the audience's attention like clouds of soaring birds, slicing the atmospheric soundscape with their graceful passage.

E-perc rhythms add soft, controlled beats that transform the drifting electronics into sedate-but-lively tunes. Gradually, the percussives elevate the songs, injecting pep to the ambient melodies and violating the music's sedative demeanor. These rhythms often consist of electronic burps that are looped to generate tempos with their sizzling presence.

Fletcher's compositions are a tasty alliance of ambience and pop, resulting in tuneage that has body and appealing depth while never growing obtrusive. An understated element of fun permeates this music, not quite celebratory but definitely smile-inducing.

Life without Psychetropic's music would be a dismal existence.

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