Minion :: Depression, Love & Triumph (Frozen Empire Media, CD)

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Rhythmic noise lives by two rules: the rule of the hard and crunchy and the rule of atmospherics. All the players in this particular sandbox vacillate between these two rules; some bring up the atmosphere, some reject it entirely, surviving on a strict diet of noise, noise and noise. The records that have staying power (read I can listen to on a regular basis without giving myself headaches) are the ones that temper their aggressive power with subtle arrangements of sparse electronic textures. “Supressed Feelings,” the second track of Minion’s Depression, Love & Triumph, begins with a series of single tones that rise like effervescent bubbles, and Sitterding returns to these tones again and again during the course of the track. He offsets this childlike melodic structure with a hammering sequence of noisy beats, building a relationship between the innocent and the cataclysmic. The climax of the track involves strings — lots and lots of strings — which take up the cause of the tiny bubbles, throwing themselves behind the melody in an effort to overpower the heavy percussion. The beats, in return, fight back, snarling and snapping with an electrified fury.

Sitterding continues to mix these playful analog melodies with his breakcore beats and sizzling noise. “All Those Things I Meant to Say” percolates along like a tiny soundtrack pulled off a hand-held Casio keyboard, propelled and hammered by a relentless stomp-stomp of jackhammer percussion. “Dopamine” swirls and swells with analog synthesizers, waves of rolling sound like the surface of heavy liquid. The beats sizzle and pop in insouciant counterpoint. “Last Call” works itself into a frenzy as swirling waves of water tones spread out beneath an evolving rhythm structure. Sitterding works in a synthesizer interlude — exit music for a retro-future jazz bar — before bringing the rhythm section back with an increasingly hyperkinetic pace. The toy keyboard returns for a “Quick! Everyone on stage for the final number of the evening!” jam session and, surprisingly, the record ends with a fading duet between the melodic instrumentation.

Rhythmic noise is an acquired taste, though once you’ve acquired the taste, discs like Minion’s Depression, Love & Triumph are welcome treats. Sitterding doesn’t break any new ground with this record — labels like Ant-Zen, Hands, and Hymen have been doing this sort of thing for some time — but he does carefully juggles the two rules of noise, giving his record a hard edge and a softer interior; Quite nice.

Depression, Love & Triumph is OUT NOW on Frozen Empire Media.

  • Frozen Empire Media
  • Minion Website

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