CHOP SHOP – Oxide

(23Five)

Scott Konzelmann, a New York-based sound artist specializing in installations supported by speaker construction assemblages, was subjected to the same problem that struck William Basinski while the latter was working on what became “The Disintegration Loops”. In fact, the tapes containing the things you hear in “Oxide” were affected by their long-lasting exposition to moisture, causing the original content to be somewhat spoilt. Three words are printed in black in the sleeve: “DAMAGE. DECAY. LOSS.” That would have to be a perfect summing up of Chop Shop’s music: a cold, isolated view on a crumbling civilization where sentiment, or whatever might be defined as “heartfelt”, doesn’t receive citizenship. In terms of sonority, the substance ranges from a string of built-up drones recalling the distant mantras of marble-cutting machinery at work to a series of breathtaking swashes meshing the rumble of a jet engine and the acoustic pollution of the worst kind of noisy industrial unit. The most peaceful (so to speak) sections are characterized by a subterranean ebulliency, making us reflect about inviolable secrets and misanthropic existences. The record works differently depending on the reproduction level, though: when playing it at moderate volume, its presence is felt as a soft kneading, silence fed by sinister whispers, the interstices between the events pervaded by the authority of a silent menace.

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