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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

David Morneau - "a/break Machinations"

Artist: David Morneau
Album: a/break Machinations
Year: 2009
Label: Immigrant Breast Nest
Genre: Experimental
Website: http://www.immigrantbreastnest.com

The blurb that accompanied this album reads: "fractures, re-sequences, and otherwise manipulates a single drum break, touching on several of electronic music's finest traditions, such as drum'n'bass, breakcore, trip-hop and jungle. Each new track sets the break in a new context, beginning with a cerebral drone and climaxing in a carnal outburst of pulse-pounding goodness. "

Packaging: ?/10
It's that picture of two kids. What that has to do with anything, I don't know. It's looks like an experimental electronic album cover, I guess. All I was sent was that image. If there is more artwork I don't know about it. I hate when digital albums have very little artwork.

Composition: 2/10
From the above blurb you know this is some experimental, and (more than likely) pretentious stuff. I guess all the sounds on this album are all derived from a single breakbeat? I'm not sure. Most of it sounds like someone loaded a breakbeat into a sampler, hit record, and then turned knobs seemingly at random. It's a fairly short album so here are the tracks:

1. "Salutation" - The opener is a droney piece of "music". It's mostly just a single, midly-annoying, midrange-heavy drone which doesn't go anywhere. There are some sounds in the background which don't add much. It fails to go anywhere and I lost interest quickly.
2. "Transformation" - This one is more of an upbeat song. Refer to my statement above; this sounds like random knob turning on a glitch plug-in for 8 minutes. Hey look I'm glitching this one beat in annoying and soporific ways while a really generic, repetitive pad/noise plays over top of it. Boring and pointless. Please refer to Xanopticon for how to do glitchy-beat-weirdness well.
3. "Hesitation" - Another more ambient piece. It is by no means exciting or particularly inventive for ambient music, but it's not annoying and could work to some extent as background music. It's got some weird beeps and clicks which move about and subtly change/evolve. It's sort of weird and creepy, like in a Willy Wonka sort of way. Please refer to Monstrare for how to do glitchy ambient well.
4. "Jubilation" - Ok, back to upbeat "jungle". This one is a weak breakbeat and a goofy melody. Goofy because it sounds like a banjo or something. Nothing really meshes in this piece, and it sounds like random sounds combined simply for the sake of being random and "experimental". Why is no one using banjo-type sounds in DNB? Because it doesn't sound good. The track fails to go anywhere or change in any significant way, and the mixing is rather poor. As a result, it comes off as sounding very amateur.
5. "Observation" & 6. "Simulation" - I will do these together because they have the same characteristics. These seem to be the most complex and therefore best tracks. They have a few elements going on simultaneously, and some genuinely cool sounding synth lines. There isn't a lot of "experimental" glitching ('cause apparently experimental = random glitches) in these and they are much more straight-forward breakbeat/dance tunes. Unfortunately, the sounds really don't seem to fit together and the mixing is very rough which doesn't help things. The songs progress, but they don't do anything exciting or innovative. It all sounds very amateur, as if David Morneau really doesn't know quite what he wants to make and where he wants his music to go. Instead it all feels like "here are some tracks I made in a couple days".

Production: 2/10
I listen to a lot of drum and bass and the production here pales miserably in comparison. Weak, uninteresting, beats; cheap-sounding, thin synths; inane samples; very little cohesion between elements...open up any DAW and drop in some stock sounds and it will sound fairly close to this, sound quality-wise.

Artistic Merit: 2/10
I actually do like experimental stuff, but unfortunately most of it works much better in writing than in practice. This is one of those things. I don't get the point of this record at all; it does very little other than sound like some random wanking, occasionally forming into very uninspired composition. There is nothing here that will make you say "whoa how did he do that!" or "wow that part sounds so weird and interesting".

Flow: 3/10
Eh, hard to say. Flow between tracks is generally awkward; there will be an ambient track followed by a very upbeat track followed by another ambient track. It's not terribly pleasant. Tracks stay pretty similar throughout their duration, so I guess you could say they flow. Not a ton of significant evolution or anything within them.

Overall Rating: 2/10
Not much here that is worth hearing. If you like random stuff that seems to lack purpose and direction than this may be for you. This record comes across as very pointless, sporadic and weak compared to most DNB/Jungle/IDM/etc. If you want whacked out glitchy stuff that is actually good, try Xanopticon instead. Or if you want DNB/Jungle with glitches, try Enduser. You won't regret missing out on "a/break machinations". I would encourage David Morneau to figure out why exactly he is creating music, and what he wants to get across with his music. There is very little reason to listen to this record, because you could just as easily pirate fruityloops and make these songs yourself after a couple of weeks.


Unknown said...

God. That sucks.

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