Demons Evocation

[No Fun Productions; 2007]

Styles: early electronic music, noise, drone
Others: Dead Machines, Cluster, Throbbing Gristle, Hair Police

Nate Young of Wolf Eyes and Steve Kenney kick out some wicked synth jams on the newest Demons record, Evocation. The pair lay waste to everything in their path with some ferocious brain-damaging electro-noise à la pioneers Cluster or Throbbing Gristle. Instead of sounding like an intentional tribute to those groups, however, the album carves out its own niche in a genre where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do so. The warm, monophonic, analog sound of the Sequential Circuits Pro-One synths played in tandem create a wall of squiggly tones, immediately distinct from other records in the genre that rely heavily on keyboards. In other words, this is some serious shit for all you noiseheads.

Demons craft the kind of mood music suitable for placement in a George Romero zombie film. In some minor ways, it reminds me of the Goblin soundtrack for Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. There are similarities in the overall feel of the pieces presented here and those foreboding psychedelic pseudo-prog jams that laid the foundation for brain-gobbling in a 1978-era American shopping mall. Instead of adorning their music with eerie bells and the throbbing pulse of actual percussion, Young and Kenney opt to super-distort the synths to the point of being ambiguous. Are you hearing an actual melody submerged in all that static, or is it just an illusion?

Fans of Wolf Eyes and Hair Police will have no problem taking to this record, if they haven’t already. It has a close antecedent in Hair Police’s The Empty Quarter, which was released earlier this year and is equally brilliant. The massive output of artists in the noise community and the haste with which they distribute the most infinitesimal fart of their genius has led many to cry foul on the quality contained therein. For those of us still interested, it’s difficult just to keep up. By the time this review is published, Demons might already have another three CD-Rs or lathe-cuts out. Lucky for us, the Wolf Eyes/Hair Police camp has maintained a pretty consistent track record. Add a Demons branch to the growing tree of that family, because Evocation might just keep naysayers quiet for a little while.

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