Max Eilbacher - Red Anxiety Tracers [Spectrum Spools - 2013]
Max Eilbacher is part of Baltimore's Needle Gun, and has performed with Matmos and the excellently named Horse Lords. Solo, Max has only released Mescalin Headache on cassette in 2011. Red Anxiety tracers from Spectrum Spools is his vinyl debut, and a proper testament to the experimental craft to which Max plies his trade.
Red Anxiety Tracers is seven tracks that plays like two side long pieces. The opener on Side A, "Slowlo," places sparse, deep hits, glitchy crackle, and other random sounds over a recording of crowd sounds. "Persistent Scenes" changes the mood quite a bit, and definitely for the better. The deep hits continue, but this time to accent the shimmering and oscillating synth space flight. Unfortunately, things come crashing back Earthward on "Did the Surfer Survive?" This is basically just an ambulance siren type sound and random crackling and echoed gurgling. The last two or so minutes of it, though, do their best to turn it around and make it interesting again. The spacey notes return and take you back out of orbit. I may have the songs porked up as it's one long track, so divisions could be off.
Side B keeps a more consistent and less annoying pace. The soft, low, furry rumble of the intro leads into "Geetar." Sparse and almost random like "Surfer," "Geetar" hits more of a psychedelic vibe than an annoying one. The tones it the beginning had me feeling some German Shepherds type weirdness, but that passed soon enough. The delayed and effected guitars (get it, GEETAR! yar har) make up most of the second half of the track. They're gauzey and distant but with enough atonal qualities to keep them in line with what you'd expect from Max. The ending gets reminiscent of a slowed down, spread out version of ESG - UFO. I can get down with that for sure. "No Room For Breathing" has Max returning to the spacey drone of "Persistent Scenes." Less deep and drifting than the other, "No Room" feels warmer, but equally as contemplative. The side finishes it off with the heavily oscillated and reverbed "Rail Trax." This is the roughest track on the album, and a quality finish to the record. The oscillations grow in volume and crunch until they're in your face demanding your full attention.
Red Anxiety Tracers is interesting. While it plays very well in the background, it plays even better when you give it more attention. I know that sounds dumb, but some albums are better when only partially heard. It's like girls that look better with their clothes on, y'know? There are some really nice sounds on this album and it gets less random the more you listen. Writing it up gave me a better take on it, overall, and I'm happy with my new perspective.Paul Casey