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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

Our Love Will Destroy the World - Thousands Raised to the Sixth [Handmade Birds - 2012]

Our Love Will Destroy the World specializes in long form pieces of dense old school industrial noise. New Zealander Campbell Kneale, who has been exploring sound for over a decade through his primary project, Birchville Cat Motel, uses the basic approaches of such artists as NON, Throbbing Gristle, and Zoviet France to build massive constructions of interlocking sounds, almost as if a bunch of clockwork machines were wound up simultaneously to create their own rhythms. And while there are moments in the 2-hour, 2-disc epic extravaganza Thousands Raised to the Sixth that do call to mind a wall of Buddha Machines weaving repetitious but rapidly shifting webs of cacophony, there are enough artful, intentional surprises in the din to be testament to the hand of a creator who knows his way around an experimental mix.

The basic ingredients are the same from track to track: a tinkling, bleeping, or otherwise percussive rhythm, on which is piled a squelchy, grating, or grinding squall that intentionally obscures the occasional hints of melody. The major forces push and pull at each other, kneading each piece until the line between the forces blurs, when finally the cloak of noise drops out to unveil the source of the melody—whether strings, keyboards, or human voice—underneath.

“Zine Boredom,” as an example, gets more musical as it goes, like ghosts from the 1920’s doing the Charleston under a wall of static that is finally cleared away to expose the keyboard pattern that had secretly carried the musicality of the track all along. “Blindness Black Battalion” has a similar upsetting darkness on the surface—tortured sounds and kettle drumming—but these eventually fall away in favor of strings.

Such pieces exhibit OLWDTW’s tendency to play real and sometimes beautiful instruments under the drones of noise, as well as the jarring and surprising juxtapositions the record has to offer, both in its sequence and in the arrangements of the individual tracks. “Lime Glacier” is a tight, maddening loop of cold sound until the veil is lifted after four minutes to reveal an orchestra, followed immediately by a jarring cut to “Forgotten Stormbringer,” another field of swirling sounds. Grafting together Boyd Rice’s sense of white noise and easy listening, this standout track is grounded by humanoid singing and ends with sputtering voice, but is made much more powerful by its sheer position within the playlist.

Despite lots of buzzing, drones, fans, and engines, not to mention the artist’s apocalyptic name (taken from a Birchville track), the album never quite sounds dystopian. Sure, the machines are ruling this particular universe, but as “Early Scrawl LIke Fuck Academy” demonstrates, they have their own kind of soul. This track in particular could be the entire career of Richard H. Kirk encapsulated into ten minutes, where the first part reflects his latter day electro work and the second part reminiscent of Cabaret Voltaire’s Red Mecca or The Voice of America. “Cloud Water Assembly” also uses sampled speech in a very processed, Kirkian way, but that the track relies upon a plodding piano gives it an unusual lifeforce.

These primarily rhythmic pieces thankfully aren’t part of a larger musical trend, like when everything became drum-and-bass back in 1997, or a genre so small that it only applies to a couple of likewise artists (e.g. “microhouse”). Instead, Kneale has successfully destroyed the world and created a new one all his own. The tracks on Thousands Raised to the Sixth do start feeling a little redundant after two hours, but it’s a small gripe about an otherwise astonishing album.

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

Richard T Williams
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