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Musica Subterranea

Musica Subterranea

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Album Review

In pure Foreign Lands fashion (which can be extended to most of the U.S. experimental under-underground), Subterranea's self-titled album is packaged without an iota of information, except for the mention that the music was "recorded in an abandoned train station somewhere in Pennsylvania." The label's brief catalog adds that the recordings were made by Neville Harson of Mandible Chatter. And yet on first listen it is very clear that Harson is not alone in these two tracks. There is too much going on, especially in the first piece. Percussion, saxophone, shouts, and noise intermingle in what can only be described as a summoning. Part black magic ritual, part return to the heydays of industrial (when banging on a huge container in an abandoned warehouse still held a revolutionary meaning), the music surprisingly stands in the middle of a triangle formed by Harry Partch's ceremonial percussion-heavy music (Delusion of the Fury, for instance), the raw power of early German industrial bands like Einsturzende Neubauten or ABGS, and the introspective free-form jamming of American collectives like No-Neck Blues Band or the Sunburned Hand of the Man. The echoing adds to the sense of alienation as metal drums are banged and various sounds, musical or not, are spontaneously assigned a meaningful place in the stereo field. The abrupt cut at the end of the 50 minutes of the first piece shatters the mood in the most uncomfortable way — like cutting in two the metaphysical thread linking an astral traveler to his corporeal body. The second piece features group vocalizations, the sound of dripping water, a kalimba (or is it a cracked xylophone?), and a generally calmer mood. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Musica Subterranea, Musica Subterranea
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music
  • Released: 2003

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