V/A :: Reign Of Error (Low Res)

It’s 2015 and we’re still trying to induce shock and awe by throwing as much stuff at people’s ears as we possibly can. Reign of Error does this and produces more noise and less signal than one might like.

V/A :: Reign Of Error (Low Res)

Compilations are a tricky thing. They can either be conceptual in nature or a simple collection of the latest works of a given group of artists or a label or what have you. They can also be an excellent way to learn of new artists and/or get familiar with some previous ones. Reign Of Error is the latest comp from the Low Res label out of Detroit, Michigan (is there any other Detroit we here at Igloo would write about?). There’s a certain dread and anticipation in listening to a comp as there’s a wide variety of artists and songs of unknown content and promise.

Reign of Error is full of heavy music which is not necessarily a good thing despite my love for loud, banging tracks. Because it’s easy to distort everything in a track, speed up the tempo and make it glitchy but it’s another to consider your process, composition and arrangement as something more than just thinking “It goes to 11!” is an acceptable ethos. Industrial music—one of the genres Low Res has releases in—has been around as long as punk and in the hands of certain purveyors can be just as commercial, tired and staid. Rehashing the works of the masters like Einsturzende Neubauten, Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle or even Skinny Puppy is nothing new but seems to be redone over and over. Sadly, Reign of Error is heavy on noise, glitch and distortion but ultimately light on innovation.

Bombardier’s “Demo & Blight” opens the collection up with a distorted, breakbeat drive through a glass strewn highway to hell. Deadfader’s “Po” (possibly a tribute to the red and rad Teletubbie) steps up with a milder affair, though it is strewn with glitchy bits and simple foreboding melodies over farting synth basslines; it creates a nice groove with not too much instrumentation. Rabitrup’s “Sharmanka” is a dub step lesson in terror with some interesting inclusion of arabic drumming but not much new to add. Audiovoid’s “Cinematic” treads some familiar ground in distortion and glitch works without pushing any envelopes. Mont Blanc’s “DOS4GW” lands somewhere in the middle of Scorn and Meat Beat Manifesto with a slinky beat underpinning a grinding hoover loop and spooky strings. Wirewound’s “Static Discharge” works thumping electronic drums into a subtle breakbeat groove despite the distortion, showing some considerable restraint in a field full of loud as possible music. “Cyngulate” by Disheveled is the sound of an orchestra playing a concerto for broken speakers, shattered glass and found metal objects; it could easily be from 1992. Not Robo Boy’s “SNJK BURNING” provides some space in between the beats and machines with a dark, dubby stride through smokey corridors before rushing into double-time drums and a wobbly bass and pads theme with the worst high pitched whine in a song since Aphex Twin’s “Ventolin.” Redhat’s “Blinon” actually pushes some new buttons despite including the Amen break and low-pitched rap lyrics; the synth work, vocal samples, time signature changes (4/4 to 3/4? Incredible!) and arrangements stand out against the rest of the comp’s head banging beats. “Ammonia Party” by Traffik uses the “annihilating rhythm” sample Meat Beat Manifesto did back in 1988 on Storm The Studio which does nothing for the annoying, buzz saw 303 and porn-y moans of the track. I had hopes that an act named Detroit Gore Police would thrill me; “Shutter” is alright, kind of like if the preset songs of an MC303 were programmed by Venetian Snares. “Rommy Intitute” by Kero closes out the comp, sounding not unlike Aphex with a slightly more modern focus on space and glitching things up. The track has a nice groove, subtle arrangements and doesn’t feel like someone is beating you over the head trying to get you interested in it.

It’s 2015 and we’re still trying to induce shock and awe by throwing as much stuff at people’s ears as we possibly can. Reign of Error does this and produces more noise and less signal than one might like. There’s hope among some of the artists like Deadfader, Kero and Wirewound but for the most part it doesn’t bring much new to the table.

Reign of Error is available on Low Res.

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