♫♪  MAGAS - “Countess”

Sneak down the stone stairway into the dungeon dance floor zone of MAGAS, and take a look around you. It’s more like some kind of museum down here, really. No iron maidens or stocks or what have you to be seen — straight synthesizers up and down every wall, all kinds of vintages, all LEDs blinking, all MIDI cables threaded. The room breathes with electricity. You can almost hear the voice of the room in the hum, asking you to turn a few knobs, inviting you to piece together some twisted new patch. Just as you reach out a finger to prod a keyboard, the gate swings open and MAGAS steps into the chamber. You take a few steps back, and let him take over.

With gonzo no-wave projects like Couch (feat. a young Aaron Dilloway) and Lake of Dracula (feat. Weasel Walter), Jim Magas helped to prototype the style of unhinged noise/rock improv later perfected by the likes of Wolf Eyes or Hair Police. Magas’s solo work under his surname, perhaps best exemplified by his 2003 album Friends Forever, veers off down a side-tunnel into the no-less-mind-rending realm of analog techno — predating the static-blasted strain of deconstructionist beat music battered into our faces by modern practitioners Container or Shit and Shine. With his new EP Heads Plus, due July 17 on his own Midwich Productions imprint, MAGAS reemerges with a set of post-industrial bangers capable of sending your body into some kind of involuntary rhythmic shaking (I believe this is called “dancing”) while simultaneously confounding all the hell out of your brain.

Back in the subterranean synth vault, MAGAS dials in the settings he needs and the sounds of “Countess” emerge from the PA. He makes the most out of a minimal palette of voices, each of which clash in tonal juxtapositions over a bumping framework of 4/4 house percussion. A scuzzy bassline thuds through the nether regions of the mix, congealing with the beat into a flattened pulse as it cycles through a driving harmonic progression. Between long stretches that highlight this mutant rhythm section, upper register arpeggios trace out a Goblin-core horror score sequence. These busy synth lines feel more like a logical extension of the beat than any sort of lead melody, materializing out of the grid to propel the session forward as they jitter up and down the scale.

• MAGAS: http://magasworld.com
• Midwich Productions: http://www.midwich.net

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CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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