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Metalux - Victim of Space

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Artist: Metalux

Album: Victim of Space

Label: 5 Rue Christine

Review date: Oct. 9, 2005

Hiding behind a wall of sound is nothing new - lots of obsessive loners do that. In Metalux’s case, the wall masks two: ex-Bride of No No noisemakers J. Graf and M.V. Carbon, with occasional help on their eclectic barrage of distorted and otherwise tricked-out electric instruments by James "Twig" Harper of Nautical Almanac.

Graf and Carbon’s newest album, Victim of Space (their first for indie staple 5RC), will suck dry your senses of taste and aesthetic pleasure. Snippets of the album might be mistaken for the sophisticated colliding planes of sound that groups like Black Dice shape into lush, three-dimensional sculptures. Metalux, however, are more like the practical jokers of the fucked-up-sound fraternity; they’ll grind a sound into the ground, over and over and over.

True to their affinities with the Load label, they simmer metal and guttural electronics into a thick stew. Their plodding free-form jams are strenuous exercises for even the most patient listener, especially in the songs that flirt with structure: “Caligraphy Zone,” a typical Metalux track, uses heavy riffs in two distinct sections, both energetic and insistent but never resolving into regular rhythms.

On a production level, the breadth of Metalux’s experimentation helps make up for the lack of forethought. That’s what this music is about, after all: excessive production. Instead of developing various elements in linear sequence, Metalux boldly superimposes the artifacts that make up these pieces - electronic noodling, wordless wailing, hissing blankets of distortion, and tape cuts on top of it all to further destroy all traces of harmony. Yet, the disinterest in development actually makes sense: it literally takes minutes at a time to work through the subtle shufflings their interplay breeds. Whole pieces are bristling with an internal energy that hypnotizes as it stumbles through minute after minute. There's an odd pleasure in watching it die.

By Joel Calahan

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