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The Siege of Troy - The Siege of Troy

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Artist: The Siege of Troy

Album: The Siege of Troy

Label: Ominira

Review date: Aug. 7, 2013

The Siege of Troy - “Black Floral Lace Blindfold”

It’s interesting to see that despite all the technological advancements we’ve made in the last 30 years, the “faceless techno bollocks” of yore still seem to be delivered in the same old fashion. Quality-first limited run labels like Wax and Sandwell District have compounded erratic release schedules and nonexistent online footprints with impossibly limited vinyl 12s and the zealous legion of hopeless Discogs devotees.

For a twist on the usual, Leipzig’s Gunnar Wendel utilized another format for his first outing as The Siege of Troy: cassette. The medium is telling in what you’re getting with these straight-to-tape “warehouse excursions and militant washed-out electronics.” Rough and tumble loops with little light let into the mix, The Siege of Troy is a curiously aggressive addition to Wendel’s chameleonic oeuvre.

That’s not to say these sorts of squalid warehouse loops are wildly out of character. Slithering among styles, Wendel is an elusive but essential name in the contemporary dance music landscape as the wizard behind the ambiguously pronounced Kassem Mosse. Wendel has long made a point of skirting genre stereotypes and blurring the lines between techno, house and (lately) bass music. He’s very good at it, too – from Omar-S remixes to appearances on Boddika’s Nonplus imprint, Wendel has the stamp of approval from both sides of the Atlantic in his continuing efforts to confront (and reject) conformity.

The Siege of Troy plays to that confrontation and rejection. Far removed from the infinite depths of his smoother grooves, these 11 tracks are clipped and noisy in a way that doesn’t allow for the usual easy listening and subsequent grooving. No one song stands out among the lot in the way that his singles all seem to stand apart from each other, though the beat of “Petteia” recalls Think and Change contribution “Broken Patterns” and acts as a good starting point. That aside, the 8-bit windchill of “Black Floral Lace Blindfold” and the whale call loop of “Schirrmacher Oasis” are about as close as you’ll get to identifiable Kassem Mosse fare.

What’s left of the tracklist are brutal lo-fi loops like opener “The Leaves of the Trees” and “The Column of Black Air,” mood-setting sonic experiments like “Hundred Cities” and “Look Back at Me” that one hopes will someday reappear in longer form elsewhere, and those tracks like “Retribution Dub” that straddle the line somewhere in between.

As you may have guessed from these descriptions, The Siege of Troy’s self-christened “jacknoise” is a vehicle for exploring the intersection of noise and dance in a similar vein to the recent exploits of people like Regis, Andy Stott, Cut Hands, and, perhaps most recognizably, Vatican Shadow. We can only speculate from a (deliberately enforced) distance on the intent of the release and logic behind its medium, but the gap from artist to listener does not sully the talent on display: Even with a notoriously unreliable format and constrained to under a half-hour of space, Gunnar Wendel gets his point across. The king stays the king.

By Patrick Masterson

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