Safe - Crop [Dot Dot Dot - 2012]Safe is an "academic" noise/experimental unit from Ireland, apparently pretty well known but once again my ignorance prevails cause I never heard of them before."Crop" is their fifth full length album and it consists of a single forty minutes long live improvisation track.
What we have here is a bulky mass of distorted synth waves, rumbling static, guitar feedback, zoned-out drones, mangled bass, and an ear piercing, tortured and violated toy trumpet. I think vocals are implemented too but I'm not too sure about when or how. Ah, the magic of noise! This good chunk of sound is pretty consistent and the powerful flow of a ton of layers of noise works pretty well: there's lots of variation and new sonic elements circularly come and go in the mix, while the intensity and cohesion of the ensemble is kept intact for the whole length of the album, reminding me a bit of good old Borbetomagus or Hijokaidan.
The synth seems to work as a collagen for all the other instruments, offering them s a nice, ever-mutating and comfy carpet to abuse and fuck about with. Actually, despite the potentially dangerous elements, Safe manage not to be overly aggressive or nasty and their noise is quite soothing and somewhat mellow to my ears. Don't get me wrong, this record would be completely unbearable to people who're not into this kind of stuff, but still Safe's mix has a certain relaxing element to it.
The layering and interaction of sounds is quite good, and there's a lot to discover and dissolve into for a careful listener; just like in all good noise records, it's a pleasure to get lost in tiny details and revel in a cascade of high volume static. The sound production is quite clear, "full" and clean but the live feeling is evident, keeping "Crop" fresh (ha!) and genuine.
I must say that for some reason I expected an half-assed, pretentious and hollow record, but instead I found a solid noise live set which I think it could be thoroughly enjoyable by all fans of "big band" noise.Nicola Vinciguerra