Beastmaster: The Crush
Beastmaster "Kinda Knew" b/w Quintron "The Heartbeat" (Endlessseries) Techno meets Einstürzende Neubauten? No, not quite. Mouse on Mars as heard through an AM radio? No, that's not it either. Playing Pong during the apocalypse? That'll have to do for now. Tara Fournier's self-released Beastmaster CD The Crush is four lengthy tracks of Casio keyboard-simple preset rhythms and tones assaulted with extreme prejudice. What Fournier does here is so elementary it shouldn't work at all: make rhythm, destroy it, repeat as necessary. Perhaps because she pushes this creative destruction to epic free-jazz song lengths--"Camel Toe Cameo" clocks in at just over 15 minutes, "Patchwork Orange" hits 25--something happens to the cognitive processes in the brain after listening to wave upon wave of simple meter being gang-raped.
And there is an element of violation going on here. "Stellar Eyes Alien" opens with a throbbing techno pulse as anonymous as any random club beat used as a movie's opening credit sequence. Soon curlicues of boing-boing squiggles comically disrupt the pattern, and they themselves are smeared into submission by some angry squelch that could be a synth-generated sound or the sound of some way-past-broken guitar pedal. Out of this mess springs a bobbing click pace that, once again, gets violated by electronic intrusions and obliterations. Now, keep this going for 20 minutes, even though the background BPM pulse never sounds like it alters much and you begin to feel as if Fournier is submitting you to some kind of endurance test.
The real kicker is that you become eager to submit to it: The Crush is more addictive than free cable TV. "Kinda Knew," the Beastmaster track on the Endlessseries 10-inch (Chiara Giovando and Caleb Johnston's totally rad lathe-cut LPs), follows this pattern as well, not merely using noise to deconstruct lockstep rhythms but pushing noise to such an extreme that it obliterates metrical notions and then finds new timekeeping textures within the claustrophobic din. It's rather aggressive music that's even more remarkable for how it doesn't bleed over into the abrasive despite its radical dynamic shifts. It's such an aural antiseptic, in fact, that it makes the flip side, Quintron's--of Quintron and Miss Pussycat fame--contribution, the aptly named, rhythmically steady "The Heartbeat," feel like a tamed tiger in comparison. Beastmaster, indeed.