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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Fear Konstruktor - Philosophy of Conflict [Nil By Mouth Recordings - 2009]

Power electronics. That’s right. A couple of weeks ago I reviewed Argentum’s We Are the Fire, and ruminated briefly about the how and what and why of power electronics. I guess that whatever I wrote in that review still stands, and likewise also applies to the tape I just clicked into my walkman – Fear Konstruktor’s Philosophy of Conflict.

I experience a brief moment of confusion as I inspect the green plastic bag it comes in – the K’s, really? Is that power electronics at all? Power elektroniks? As my view of power electronics is that it’s a tough guy sort of scene with catchy tunes about killing your dog, offending minorities and raping everyone and their mums (their mums especially), the adolescent spelling seems a bit like a faux pas. But then again, what do I know about it? To this reviewer, the best power electronics recording ever put out is The Gerogerigegege’s Yasukuni Jinja – a Whitehouse parody and/or tribute that is painfully absent from any attempt at a PE canon. So there you go.

But then again, does one really need the complete Broken Flag discography and all original Whitehouse vinyl to form any sort of opinion on PE? I guess not. There’s a definite appeal to PE when done right – like the pure violence and adrenaline of early Sutcliffe Jügend, or the muddy, dirty anger of Genocide Organ. Fear Konstruktor, in that respect, certainly seems to be doing something right. Fear Konstruktor is a relatively new project hailing from Russia, information about which is otherwise scarce and/or incomprehensible (to quote from the biography, “all that chik-chik and wao-wao are just words of the significant phrase” – straight out of the English subtitles to a Hong Kong Category III film). And it doesn’t end there. Philosophy of Conflict, released through the Italian Nil By Mouth Recordings, is, according to the label information, a single-sided C60, except it’s one of those special single-sided tapes that has two sides to it and the two sides are also different. I guess the philosophy of conflict also translates to tape formats, but hey, it’s all good.

In any case, Fear Konstruktor presents a pretty excellent slab of PE that is suitably filthy and gritty. The cassette format works wonders here, as any analogue format (vinyl, too) does for PE – while any good recording probably could or should withstand the crystal clarity of digital formats (and Fear Konstruktor, too, believes in it, as is evident from  the slew of MP3 and CDr releases to his name), analogue formats provide a murkiness and inevitability (play it and experience it – track indexing is a completely different matter here) that make listening to them arguably a more compelling experience than listening to a CD or MP3 release (lousy track? Skip). The murky sound, furthermore, suits Fear Konstruktor well. There’s a wide range of textures and compositions here, from the industrial drones and static rumbling that violently bury what seem like tortured screams, to inevitable voice samples overlaid with a slowly crumbling, stumbling mid-range hum. There’s an amazing amount of life to it – even through the murk, the sound much like it’s been buried and left to rot for three years to sound convincingly decomposed and clinically dead, there’s so much detail, so much going on, that it’s incredibly satisfying to keep turning the volume up and up as the tape rolls on, almost deafening yourself to make sure you pick up every detail.

Discussing every track individually wouldn’t be sensible for Philosophy of Conflict – despite that there’s nine tracks here, it’s all done with enough vision and craft to ensure it sounds like one big piece, even with the brief pauses between tracks here and there. Thematically, Fear Konstruktor – despite the name – seems something else, though the tape is advertised as traditionally/stereotypically/yawn bringing “this music of this dark side of mankind”. Fear Konstruktor himself though says he is “inspired by brightness and vibrance of modern world”, and a track title like Cleaning the Earth seems to suggest he is more concerned with global warming than sexually assaulting grannies. I like it – why can’t anger stem from a genuine concern for the environment, or being upset about your sister hogging the phone every single night and you can’t call your mates even for just five minutes goddamnit (Disease Through the Wires), or having to attend church every Sunday while your stamp collection needs attention, too (Call to Prayer)? Alright, perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but Fear Konstruktor’s approach actually seems a fresh one, perhaps like recent straight edge PE project xAllxForxThisx’s approach, and it very much speaks for him.

Philosophy of Conflict is a thematically fresh tape that offers some excellently murky power electronics which I’m sure is not the most original you’ll hear, but which is simply very well done. Presented beautifully on a green tape in a green plastic bag with a load of great-looking inserts, this is without doubt a tape genre enthusiasts should not miss out on.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Sven Klippel
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