Let’s get this out of the way right out front – power electronics makes me uneasy. But of course that’s also kind of the point, right? Last year I read Fight Your Own War – Power Electronics and Noise Culture to learn more about it, and frankly the book didn’t make me any more comfortable with the genre, particularly some of the more extreme behavior and views of some performers.
All that being said, I still decided to give Psycho Bondage a shot when I stumbled across it the other day. I’m by no means an expert not he genre, so I have no concept of where Redrot falls in the power electronics spectrum. But my observation is that this is less “noise” than one typically finds in the genre, being a bit more structured. Maybe it’s more on the industrial side. The label describes it as “straddl[ing] a hazy line between death-industrial, power-electronics, crust/sludge, and a more ferocious take on minimal synth”, and I’m willing to take their word for it, because if I don’t someone wearing a leather hood with a zipper mouth may show up on my doorstep.
Will I listen to Psycho Bondage again? Don’t know. It’s intense as hell, but it’s also probably the most approachable extreme music I’ve heard in a while, walking the razor’s edge between mainstream industrial and way-out-there experimental noise. Definitely not for the faint at heart.
I just started reading Fight Your Own War: Power Electronics and Noise Culture, and it’s a complete coincidence that one of the first artists I came across in the book was Ramleh, a project that includes one Anthony DiFranco, who also happens to be the solo mastermind behind JFK and who’s album Nganga has been on my To Listen To shelf now for a few weeks. Sometimes it’s a very small world.
While I enjoy industrial, I admittedly lean towards the more musically structured (and dare I say commercial) artists. JFK is not that. At all. JFK is tearing the paint off the walls of the room that is your consciousness, that little safe place you hide deep within your ego. JFK kicks in the door, hoses the place down with turpentine, and throws a road flare in on his way back out. I can’t get into all of it, but “Machinen” and “Nganga” may have altered my consciousness in such a way that I’m no longer entirely sure what constitutes “music”. My favorite track is “Zarathustra”, which sounds like Vangelis working with Tangerine Dream while the whole lot of them are tripping on ayahuasca, spacey and with the electronic buzz of high-voltage power lines right above your head and the occasional beats that will make you think the Hueys are coming in for another pass at Charlie’s beach.
This was one of the titles I picked up recently from the label Chondritic Sound, and if it’s any indication of what I’m in for, it should be an interesting ride. You can listen to all six tracks on the JFK Bandcamp page HERE, as well as purchase the vinyl, which is also available directly from the label HERE.