Asphalt Leash - Theories in Sonic Warfare
I like the idea of Asphalt Leash. It fits in my spiralling downward sense of sanity. "Noise lacks the coherence of other forms of sound, and when faced with such oblivious, chaotic stimuli, the mind relies on its most basic self-defense mechanism: rejection. Asphalt Leash provides the weapons for this war against senses."
Asphalt Leash can not be categorized in the same genre as Rhythmic Noise, it's not the same at all. This music has a great deal of thought behind it, and it's political to its very core. It achieves what many bands think that they want to accomplish but don't (and can't). Far too often I find bands will put a message or a statement on their music as one would put a condiment on a sandwich, it flavours it, but it's not the main ingredient, and when your sandwich is Tripe on white bread, no amount of fancy mustard will change that. Asphalt Leash, however, don't stick a statement onto their music, their music itself is a statement, an audio statement. This is music that defies the senses, that hopes to break you out of normal thought patterns.
Asphalt Leash is not going to provide you with pleasant distraction from your meaningless existence. Its purpose is not the same as most music out there. Theories of Sonic Warfare is an experience to have, rather than diversion from experience. You must have a different mindset to enjoy this CD, for at times, it strives to irritate and disturb you and also to change you. Some may be scared of this change, may call this change 'insanity'. Be prepared, for this change will not make you more suitable for social conditioning. This is not the music of productive members of society.
Of all the different types of media out there, music alone seems to be scared of provoking too much thought in the listener. Wait! Let me explain. Music is different from movies, TV, books, etc. in that people will repeat their experience of music more often. Although people will see a movie several times, watch repeats of TV shows they shouldn't have even watched once, over and over again, and those few of us who can read, read a book multiple times, this pales in comparison to how often people will re-listen to music. Reading a really shitty book three times won't make it any better, but perhaps by repeating a crappy song over and over again, on the radio, in ads, etc., it can grow on a listener. A lot of what controls the music industry is based on repetition. The key element is the more passively you can enjoy something the more you can have it repeated. Books are less passive, as you must actively read the words, TV more passive (but the combination of sounds and visuals interacting require at least a bare minimal participation), but music leads the pack. Music's affect on people in further compounded by the fact that most music, media's music, is designed with one purpose in mind: Clear the mind of the listener. Erase any individualism, erase any thought, erase any disapproval, get into the grove, raise your hands in the air, shake your booty.
So because repetition and passivity are the key, music doesn't generally wish to disturb or to shock the audience. The idea that a shocking movie can provoke some thought, yet a shocking song just causes audio-irritation is not true. But it may take some time and effort before you can really understand this.
Sorry I went into that long explanation, but despite how much I love Asphalt Leash I can not really recommend this CD to anyone but those few who are now thinking that this sounds
Now let's get into the actual review of the CD, Theories in Sonic Warfare.
Theories in Sonic Warfare unleashes a sonic assault on your senses, but not a mindless cacophony of sound (despite what some people may think). Theories In Sonic Warfare runs the gambit of harsher noise inspired music, there are tracks that resemble rhythmic noise, with slow harsh beats (though sounding more machine than computer made), but others that pay no heed to any trend, high pitch noise, beeps and scratches, and are nothing but original in the purest sense.
Asphalt Leash seems more music from the (disturbed and twisted) factory than music for the dance floor. The sounds all have a primal (angry) machine feel to them, and they move with
a non-rhythmic pace, as if this is the music created by dying machines as they are being torn apart.
Stand out tracks:
Severe (track 1) starts off with the sample "Start your saws" establishing that this CD is going to attempt to deconstruct the very nature of your listening experience, and then
moves right into a slow rhythmic noise piece of heavy aggression.
Stench (Track 10) actually creeps me out every time I listen to it. Needless to say, most bands won't go for the 'too creepy to listen to' sound, opting for the 'sounds like the last song sound' instead.
- Squid @ June 2001