20 February 2008

Hey, the kind people at FACT magazine allowed me to write something for them! It's a small, but rather nicely-formed, review of the Surgeon mix from a while back.

Here's, as some call these things, the director's cut:

I never knew who British Murder Boys were before hearing This is For You Shits, a recent mix by Surgeon, in which he culls a set from the darker side of electronic music. I briefly thought their snippet was Richard James, but the familiar strains of ‘Vordhosbn’ soon intervened to convince otherwise. Turns out half of BMB is one Anthony Child, a.k.a. – wait for it – Surgeon. Not that detective work matters a jot here; the featured songs weave in and among each other like strands in a particularly intoxicated spider’s web.

Perhaps this is Surgeon’s intent. As with current noise-heads Hototogisu and Wolf Eyes (whose ancestors are featured in the form of legendary Throbbing Gristle and infamous Whitehouse), maybe the idea is to let it blitz you, concentration on what is performed by whom constituting one layer too many in the web weaved. Besides, aware listeners will instinctively identify events such as the Bug (‘Killer’) subsiding into the wonderfully ageless ‘My Red Hot Car’.

Signs of a good mix: combining familiar with new-to-me (Tony Rohr + Paul Birken, Cane); one-tracking proceedings so skipping Scorn is impossible. As if you’d want to. At one point I am harshly berated by a Daily Mail voice: must be the aforementioned Whitehouse. Is it wrong I’m disappointed it’s not as abrasive as ‘A Cunt Like You’? My erroneously elegiac contemplation is soon broken by Autechre and Vex’d, sadly not in conference. It’s perversely satisfying that such danceable beats should come so late (fifty minutes) into the mix. Conclusion arrives after Eight Frozen Modules’ fantastic ‘A Low Bite Riddim’, and this mix is pretty much essential.

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