Dusted Reviews

Erase Errata - At Crystal Palace

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Erase Errata

Album: At Crystal Palace

Label: Troubleman Unlimited

Review date: Nov. 4, 2003

While I enjoy Erase Errata’s new album, At Crystal Palace, in the larger, more convoluted scheme of things, I am not sure if I am truly impressed. Perhaps this is a distinction that demands more attention and clarification. Musically, At Crystal Palace makes for pleasurable and “fun” listening in that it is the product of a deftly manipulated configuration of instruments that work in purposeful disharmony (with the occasional harmony added for good measure) to create an artful collage of noise. Erase Errata’s manic and frenetic approach to dance-infused punk certainly gives them a singular sound that is almost immediately identifiable in its distinctiveness. By the second song, “Ca. Viewing”, which opens with a stuttering bass line that eventually welcomes the explosive introduction of a screeching guitar and wailing trumpet, you know who you are listening to. Erase Errata’s music is unavoidable in its uniqueness and refreshing to recognize it as such.

So why am I not impressed on a more transcendent level? Because I am sick of “hip” (or if you prefer, “slick”) music that aspires to be nothing more than entertainment for bourgeois white kids shaking their privileged, rarified asses around some smoky, converted warehouse. I generalize, but Erase Errata has repeatedly asserted that they don’t have a political agenda, whether it be feminism or anything else, and that their main goal is to create a dynamic rapport with their audience. While I am hesitant to judge and to tell anyone what they should be, something tells me that the desire to merely facilitate a dance scene lacks a larger social-conscious or perhaps an understanding of the potential music has. For me it evens lack a perceptible emotional connection that goes beyond the experience of flailing about.

Erase Errata might do well to listen to the prophetic shout of their fellow punk-cum-dance band, the Liars, who claim “to have their finger on the pulse of America.” However ironic or sarcastic that may actually be, at least the Liars allude to an ominous warning that they have somehow tapped into the sickly vein of a nation. After all, didn’t punk music arise from the dialectical process in which a generation of musicians reacted to the depravities of disco and other versions of blindly hedonistic entertainment? It seems a corruption of the genre to remove it from a political context.

That aside, or at least at the periphery, I will reiterate that the music itself is quite good. The pace of At Crystal Palace as a whole, as well as the transition between tracks, is exceedingly fast – 13 songs totaling less then 28 minutes. Much of the album, despite the band’s statement to be making dance music, sounds like a foreboding score for a European art film (maybe I am oblivious to the deeper and somehow penetrating irony of making undanceable dance music). The track “Owls” is emblematic of this theme. A very industrial sounding mix of instruments conjures up an image of a protagonist wandering into a hornet’s nest or some other type of swarming infestation.

Other highlights on the album include “Retreat! the Most Familiar”, which features lead singer Jenny Hoyston lisping and talking her way through a warbling guitar and bass accompaniment. On “Let’s be Active c/o Club Hott”, Erase Errata illustrates its ability to make dramatic changes in tempo within the framework of an individual song. To many, this fact had already been made evident by the somewhat benign remix EP, The Dancing Machine, revisualized by Kid 606 and Matmos among others. Neither of these DJs seemed to be able to take Erase Errata’s music to new glitched-out worlds where it had not already been.

The vocals in “Harvester” are sung in Spanish for what it is worth. It’s difficult to muster the effort to write words about music that seeks to define itself solely on visceral, physical terms. I want angry proclamations and aggression, even if they are not entirely cogent. While I may enjoy a frivolous endeavor, I don’t see any reason to dissect it.

By Andy Urban

Other Reviews of Erase Errata

Dancing Machine: The Remix Record


Read More

View all articles by Andy Urban

Find out more about Troubleman Unlimited

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.