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hexspeak: CDDA

hexspeak: CDDA

Label:SCarey Studios / everything
Release Date:2008
More info on local act


By Bret McCabe | Posted 10/15/2008

CDDA is one of the cutest slabs of abrasive noise to mangle speakers in some time, if only because it feels so precious. In six tracks that wander from three and a half minutes to nearly 16, CDDA meanders through just over an hour's worth of vintage noise drones and volume spikes: varying levels of feedback rustling beneath squelchy tones that climb into pinching squeals and flatten into just another background buzz; amorphous loops that grossly suggest rhythmic devices in the way that Lucian Freud's thick brushstrokes crudely capture corpulent flesh surrendering to gravity; vaguely acoustic-sounding sources--a reed instrument? A didgeridoo? A cello?--smeared into the mix like a shark's-eye black mosquito slapped into a blood-red streak; growling electronic tones that rise and fall like a breathing mechanical beast; high-pitched needle tones dotting an angry drone like crushed fallen crab apples along a well-trod path; flitting ghosts of taped voices absorbed into the greater rumbling whole as if cardamom into a curry. Throughout, these almost identically named tracks--"CDDA 0x" 01 through 06--practically beg comparisons to harsh noise treatments from Merzbow or Throbbing Gristle, Aube or Maurizio Bianchi, and the extremities for which such artists aimed.

Don't blame Hexspeak, the duo of two guys who go by "aghost" and "oneirogen," if CDDA feels more like entertainment, though. Noise as a musical ideal has blossomed into many subsets and kin, including sounds and artists that have very little to do with one another, and, to an extent, even the sound's unruly aspects have been tamed and domesticated into safe for indie-rock shows, DJ nights, and even commercial uses. Not hating; just saying--where noise once pushed ears, bodies, and minds toward regions music previously hadn't chartered, following the same treasure map might not get there anymore. All of which is merely to recognize that right now is a peculiar moment to be an artist who considers the edge: At high volumes, Hexspeak undoubtedly possesses the ability to instill a queasy visceral reaction with its densely gorgeous army of sound, but, these days, that same unsettling feeling of cultural progress and inevitable doom can be conveyed in the flash of a second it takes for the governor of Alaska to wink.

E-mail Bret McCabe

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