The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Reviews

Lull, Beta Cloud & Andrew Liles
Circadian Rhythm Disturbance Reconfigured Scott McKeating , March 16th, 2012 07:11

Add your comment »

There is a point when overkill seeps into blasé. It's hard to tell these days which has become the more ubiquitous, experimental music collaborations or superhero team-ups. Unfortunately more often than not these collaborations are the musical equivalent of Bananaman and whogivesafuckman rather than it is the sonic version of a Batman and The Punisher team-up. This Lull & Beta Cloud disc is most definitely some of the latter; an outstanding twenty minute soundwork piece in which they've tried to bottle/record the essence of the state of insomnia. That artists should claim to be musically articulating something that insubstantial isn't a huge surprise; the surprise is that this disc is such a success.

Lull will probably be the most familiar of the pair, as the recurring beatless project of one-time Napalm Death lynchpin Mick Harris. You'll have had to be up early to catch the original release of Circadian Rhythm Disturbance (we'll get to the Reconfigured bit soon) though, it was released way back in 2008 on a limited 3" CDR.

As an example of the successful manipulation of sound into a concrete/concrète representation of a difficult to define idea, it's no surprise that the Cold Spring label pulled this from the void for re-release. Being for the main part lyricless and structureless, the noise/weird underground often attempts the tall order of reaching for a concept to hang itself on. While most concepts are fisted into the listener's consciousness through art and titles, few actually manage take something so intangible and recreate it 'through the manipulation of sound. Insomnia is also an especially wide concept, having the scope to be as a mild as a skewed state of mind to the complete negation of a personality.

Beginning with muffled street sounds (background Burial), reality soon begins to reverberate. Sounds tilt in and out of perspective - a piece of spoken word or a car going past and its a damned effective evocation of being sober, conscious and totally out of it. A silver sliver of sound, a long needle in the ear, comes in alongside waves of percussive shudder tearing slightly the low-end storm. This high pitch flutter seems to lives on past the record's end, a recollection that has much more to do with Lull and Beta Cloud's insidious soundscape than it does a pair of drone damaged ears. 'Circadian Rhythm Disturbance' gets more migrainey as it progresses, a slow train on rail rhythm that builds with a slow anger into a headache - a tightening into a further descent into the self.

For this re-release the original has been augmented by Cold Spring by one of the label's affiliates. 'Circadian Rhythm Disturbance' is taken to task (aka Reconfigured) by Andrew Liles, a man whose recent production/remix work seems to turn its source material into a swirl of bizarre abstractions rather than a conventional mix. Having worked with Nurse With Wound/Steve Stapleton for so long seems to left Liles with a taste for musical confusion. In a world where the remix can be used from something as simple as a skewed view, all the way to building as track from complete scratch, Liles is a man who prefers to destroy and rebuild. 'Circadian Rhythm Disturbance Reconfigured' is about as long as the original (once you get past the 20 minute mark a few more minutes don't really matter) but is a wholly different monster. An intricate scramble of unsettling sounds, Liles plays the maddest scientist role perfectly. Randomly stalling the music leaving aural trails of lounge sounds and chalk board scrapes, it's almost violently back-and-forth between silence and sound. Where the Lull and Beta Cloud piece was confusing enough as it was, Liles sees a remix opportunity as, rather than putting a spanner in the works, isolating the sound of the spanner's damage itself. A very valid reissue, this record is an excellent example of both sound concept creation and remix as a wrecking ball.