Rob Mazurek Sweet And Vicious Like Frankenstein

[Mego; 2004]

Styles: laptop workout, minimalist electronic melodies, white noise
Others: Tim Hecker, Jim O’Rourke, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Nobukazu Takemura

If laptop workouts courtesy of the Mego label have anything in common, it's the continued desire to push the boundaries of what electronic music is capable of. Whether mixing white noise and melodies (Fennesz and Jim O'Rourke) or punishing listeners with sinister beats and an aura of chaos (Kevin Drumm and Hecker), the past couple of years have seen the Mego roster thrive on innovation.

So, if an album fails to make new inroads musically, but instead highlights some of the best elements that have made Mego one of the most respected labels in the genre, is it still considered noteworthy? In what can possibly be considered Mego's Greatest Hits, Chicago native Rob Mazurek poses such a question with his label and genre debut, Sweet And Vicious Like Frankenstein.

Comprised of two pieces, Sweet And Vicious asks one key question in the opening minutes of the first piece, "Body Parts (Spectral White)." Several times throughout the track's 37 minutes, there are enough style and music changes that would lead the listener to believe the track might have been better presented in several shorter pieces. While I support longer works that build upon themes, I fail to find much that connects the subtle drones and melodic synths that highlight the opening 10 minutes of "Body Parts (Spectral White)," with the several directions that the track veers into.

However, this is one of the only faults I find with Sweet And Vicious Like Frankenstein, which succeeds largely in its goal of "multi-shifting" as his website attests to. Present are all of the elements that have made this style of music so interesting over the last few years. Mazurek takes his skills as an improviser and composer in avant-jazz circles and utilizes white noise in such a way that it breaks up the caustic sounds and cleanses the musical palette of the listener. Minimalist crackles that remind me of several Erstwhile Records releases lead from one serene moment to one that is more destructive and chaotic.

Electronic music has come a long way in the last few years, and while Sweet And Vicious Like Frankenstein doesn't open up any new doors musically, it is an excellent example of laptop sounds that are both confrontational and beautiful at the same time.

1. Body Parts (Spectral White)
2. Electric Eels (In Half Light)

1. Body Parts (Spectral White)
2. Electric Eels (In Half Light)

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