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(Older reviews archived alphabetically by artist name.)

  Behold My Mighty Star  
  Dressed In Wires  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  bill E. joel  

Dressed In Wires is Simondo Topless, a sampler/programmer. This disc displays its influences openly: paranoia, nihilism, found voices, samples, mutated and distorted synths, and an emphasis on percussive sounds and rhythm over melody. Fans of Aphex Twin and the solo work of Cabaret Voltaire's RH Kirk will feel right at home with this disc. Almost every track has a lot going on: polyrhythmic beds, multiple tempos, and stop/start timing. Topless maintains control throughout, presenting a coherent construction and varied sonic palette. He gets high marks for using mixed timing, tempo and dynamics to avoid monotony, the bane of industrial/IDM. Dressed in Wires features a sense of humor: using binary numbering for the titles, and its choice of samples to keep nihilism and paranoia from oppressively dominating the disc.

Lactating For You, leads off with a Time Bandits sample warning: "Don't touch's evil," but if you're hearing it, it's too late. The track features multiple layers of percussive tones, ultimately approaching a gamelan-esque level. The layered polyrhythm of the percussive figures calls to mind Steve Reich, if he and his 18 musicians went to Indonesia and took a lot of acid. Too Clever By Half, track 010 (or 2, for those of you not conversant with binary notation), has sequenced glass tones (the material, not the composer). The percussion flits and darts through the mix. First Gay Black President, track 3 (I'll just stick to decimal numbering), stumbles a little. The samples of extremely foul-mouthed children being used for shock value is moderately funny on the first listen, but wears thin fast. The martial beats and obnoxious voices are offset by the delicate harp-like synth lead.

The Elvis tribute titled I Can See Myself Cumming in Your Hair Tonight uses juxtaposition to good effect: a robotic female computer voice reads passages from Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange while the synths surf on sine waves. Burgesses' vision of a shattered future is matched by the synth tones: loud, insistent, forceful and discordant, like an alarm clock on steroids. The drums are frenetic. Topless throws a complete curveball ending by having the computer read the lyrics to the old favorite Baby Face. I Will Scrape and Hurt You shows off Topless's Cabaret Voltaire influence with shortwave radio appearing in the mix. Toy and real pianos take turns leading the way to a blippy, clicky ending. Aphids In Me has two drunks singing about Manchester, and devolves from there into an Aphex-like workout with stabs of sound and shattered, off kilter rhythms. Track seven is noise, bleeps and noise. The title pretty much sums it up: Industrial Noises Processed and Arranged to Create Throbbing Cadence.

Merzbow and Aphex Twin meet in Sheila is a Punk Tree Surgeon, which moves as a slower pace and features mutated, distorted tortured sounds, as if Topless had wrung the last bits of life out of his machines. The song ends with more kids, this time spouting gibberish and nursery rhymes instead of profane discussions about killing smelly rabbits. Nine is a melodic, minor keyed piece with just synths. The disc ends with Simone de Beauvoir, featuring sampled clocks.

An entertaining and enjoyable release.

Related Links:

Estrunax Records on the web, where you can hear mp3s from Behold My Mighty Star, and buy a copy eventually.


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