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Adaptation and Survival

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Album Review

Tribes of Neurot, the noise/ambient offshoot of Neurosis, has released their share of exciting, experimental projects, and Adaptation and Survival: The Insect Project may be the most brilliantly conceived of all of them. When Tribes of Neurot released Grace, an electronic/ambient companion disc designed to be played simultaneously with Neurosis' Times of Grace album for an enhanced listening experience, it was considered to be a somewhat revolutionary idea, and Adaptation and Survival considerably expands upon it. Here, the group's members compiled a library of insect noises, distorting, synthesizing, and manipulating the recordings into bizarre, buzzing noisescapes and eventually editing them into six individual, untitled tracks. While the concept of ambient music derived from insect sounds is fascinating by itself — if met with a collective head-scratching from all but a small handful of the record-buying public — it's the context that makes Adaptation and Survival so compelling: The tracks were recorded on 5", 7", and 10" records, which were meant to be mixed by the listener into a unique, personal interpretation of the sounds using multiple turntables set at different speeds. While executing the project is at best impractical, its ingenuity is impressive, asking for more involvement from the listener than relatively passive listening. The double-CD version of Adaptation and Survival offers a slightly less inspiring and straightforward version of the project, compiling the original tracks on disc one and offering a single representation of the mixing possibilities on disc two (although the liner notes encourage listeners to play both CDs at once for a different sonic experience). An essay inside the CD package states that the intention of Adaptation and Survival is to "align the listener with insect consciousness." Whether it succeeds depends upon how active one is with the listening process (or how willful the listener is to swallow such a circumjacent and psychedelic pill, so to speak), but Adaptation and Survival, Rovi

Adaptation and Survival, Tribes of Neurot
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