Frantic Noise – The Nordland Orchestra (Dark Prisma)

Posted in Reviews 2006 by - September 27, 2006


Bloody hell. One half of Megalopsy (whose album last year is still, in the humble mumble of this reviewer, the high-watermark of the dark psy genre) teams up with some crunchy cohorts for a caustic cacophonous crusade of christ-that’s-amazing music. Packaged up in a very trippy way (let’s just say that these are the finest linear notes in the history of music), it’s playful music that just happens to be the year’s only truly essential dark psychedelic release.

Skyshack, recorded with Collapse, kicks the album off to a staggering start. The energy, the balls, the life that’s going on in the music is incredible; it’s the first time I’ve heard any deep, dark psychedelic that reaches the same part of the brain that got delighted when The Abstract Machine dropped. Barely space for a breath, before Spine Screwer drops and does exactly what it says on the tin. The sound here is fantastic: it’s a wall of frequency, yet with enough definition and crispness to allow every layer its own space and clarity. Ghost Call (with Collapse again) is pure oldskool through a lysergic 2006 blender. Once again, it’s all about ruthless power coupled with hi-definition production that keeps this interesting; something to think about while your genitals are musically chopped off and thrown into the ocean.

The Glow opens up and stirs into life like some subterranean dragon, peaks with a little melody, falls into one of the nicest quantized sections of the year, and then drops masterfully back into 4-4. Then we have a new Megalopsy track: Shit Winds, and it’s a cracker. Eerie, swirling, startling stuff without so much as a pause to wipe the smirk off your face before it sends you off for yet another stint on the dancefloor. Psy Fiction has a ravier vibe, with more stabs and melodies. The midsection is a sublime lesson in how to keep the energy flowing, and the changes toward the end will make punters think that the DJ is being clever (perish the thought, of course.)

The Boogieman Theme is more or less what you would expect: anthemic in a post-Gamma Goblins way, it’s so unswervingly geared towards making you dance that it’s not so much a piece of music but a piece of political propaganda. Lokutus Welcome is recorded with Audiopathik from Mexico, and it’s what is technically known within the industry as “fucking dark.” There’s almost a sense of regular fullon at the start, but by the end that’s all been blown away with a seriously evil, unfriendly bit of music. Helioboy – from Frantic Noise, Collapse, and Pragmatix – is wonderful. Dark psy at 136bpm, and yes it works a treat. Finally there’s the downtempo Done For Good, recorded with Pragmatix; and while there’s some interesting ideas it doesn’t really hang together so well – but this isn’t important.

Crikey. Not since the Megalopsy album The Abstract Machine have I been so singularly impressed with a dark psychedelic album. Both share a very special mix of intricacy and power, more than enough to keep you interested and coming back time after time. The genre’s 2006 highpoint.


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