Thursday, September 20, 2007

subQtaneous & Veil of Thorns review on Nemesis To Go

And I think they pretty much nailed it dead center.

"What strangeness have we here? This: a trippy ride through post-industrial atmospheres, guided by multi-instrumentalist and producer James Curcio. Although SubQtaneous seems to be a collaborative effort, with many names in the credits, it's James Curcio's name that crops up most often. This music runs riot from dubbed-up rumbling to heavily-fuzzed guitar workouts, from incongruous jazz odysseys to bouts of bad-trip psychedelia. At times, it resembles rock music, particularly on 'Daily Grind', which sounds like the kind of mashed-up splattery racket you'd get if you shoved Ministry down a waste disposal unit. At other times, rhythms you could (almost) dance to are hauled into the sonic melee, and there are effect-laden interludes and sample-soaked soundscapes, although even when things get a little mellow the listener can never quite escape the suspicion that monsters lurk just beyond the music. 'All You Know' is a jazzy rap, springing forward on the vibrations of a double bass, and in a way it's the most radical thing here. Stick out a white label 12" with this track on it, and I bet it would be all over hip hop radio in a week. 'Panning For Gold In Rivers Of Blood' sounds like someone slipped the orchestra that accompanies silent movies some amphetamines, while 'Out Of Control' belies its title with a tumbling, chopped-up neo-rock rampage. I'm not at all sure who SubQtaneous think is going to buy their wayward art, for it's obviously not aimed at any particular market, and the band - if indeed there is a band - takes a particular delight in eating generic boundaries for breakfast. But you know what? I'm glad this stuff is out there."

Veil of Thorns
"Another emanation from the Mythos Media monster, in this case a solo project from P.Emerson Williams. And - somewhat surprisingly - we're in the rock zone, sort of. Veil Of Thorns are not exactly a band, but the music does inhabit a rocky landscape, even if it sometimes doesn't seem entirely comfortable there. P. Emerson Williams is responsible for vocals and most instruments, with James Curcio on drums (I'm delighted to note, by the way, that the album was engineered by someone called Fluffy) and together they brew up a dust storm of tight-but-loose guitar riffs and driving, nervy, drums. Let's sample some: 'The Enigmatic Barely Atone' has a lost-in-the-desert feel, as if the sands of the Sahara are shifting under the music as it hurtles towards the sunset. 'Delusions Of Excitement' is a fine title for a spooky, sepulchral song - the desert night has fallen, the world is hushed. Even the bass seems muted here, rumbling somewhere in the background as if Steve Severin was hiding behind a pyramid. 'Corrode And Engulf' (Veil Of Thorns are great on titles) is a grind of treated cello, half way between a lament and a threat. This music is, naturally, high on atmosphere, and if, at times, it teeters on the brink of proggy indulgence it has enough latent attitude to pull back from the brink. It's like nothing else out there, that's for sure."

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