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Automating - Givens [Second Language Records - 2012]

Automating, the bleak ambient project of Sasha Margolis, has existed since 2007, and released more than 10 CDrs in that time.  This album "Givens", released in 2012, is a lengthy lo-fi industrial noisescape which blends from one track to the next. 

In the harsher moments we have washed out grey distortion with muffled mids and the highs rolled off, a classic cassette tape sort of sound, though this is a CDr.  Elsewhere we have despairing, lonely synth pads, uneasy dissonant drones, the remote hums and chuggings of machines, and occasionally an outright alarm ("When Use Becomes Abuse").

The coldly claustrophic static womb promotes a brooding, misanthropic state of mind.  It is not distorted or loud by noise standards, but it is quite enveloping.  One can sense in the sound a deep displacement and dissatisfaction with society in this music.  Margolis' primary voice for expressing this is long samples, the sort that make you think. 

Particularly memorable is the sample of an inspiration speaker in "Double Monster"; coupled with the mournful pads in the background, the fight to attain the positivity of interaction described by the speaker seems hopeless.  It serves as a reminder of the way ambient music can serve as the perfect counterpart to an emotional monologue, in a way nothing else quite could without distracting from the message.  It also recalls to me a spectacularly disturbing and very underrated dark ambient opus, Tho-So-Aa's "Identify".

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

Josh Landry
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