The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Destruction Unit
Negative Feedback Resistor Sonia de Jager , September 24th, 2015 09:35

If it can be louder, and faster, and heavier: why not? Pregnant with sour psychedelic reverberation, Destruction Unit's Negative Feedback Resistor is a trip characterised less by depth, and more by alienation. It's not that the depth isn't there, it's just that the experience is multidimensional enough to bring forth a flatness; a sense of unity which discards dimensions. I, for one, welcome our alien sound overlords.

The numerous allusions to drugs this band makes presents a rather unavoidable message. In fact, we are pretty much cornered by their subtlety. Sounds oscillate between the musically expectable and the uncontrollably psychedelic. But it's not as if the idea were for the music to simulate an altered state of mind, or a trip of some sort. At least that's certainly not the intention there, it seems. Much in the same way that one can enter an 'altered state' (whatever that may mean, when is the mind ever 'unaltered'?) by staring into a mirror, or meditating for extended periods of time, what Negative Feedback Resistor does, in the spirit of the band's previous efforts, is show how all that alteration and strangeness is always-already there. You just need to look, or be the one who reveals it.

In the background, in the almost undecipherable vocals, a call for freedom. A plea for the limitless, endless freedoms in the world to be exploited, discovered, accomplished. This is something many psychedelic (music) traditions have promoted over the years, and DU's awareness thereof seems legitimate. There is a sense, however, in which the "cool and aloof"-ness of the sounds remain chained to a weird kind of ego-cult, and this contradicts the libidinal outcry for an autonomy which they seem to claim is not present in society. If that sounds too abstract perhaps a drug-related analogy might enlighten the phenomenon: it sounds like a contradiction between empathetic, playful fungal drugs mixed with the savage, self-absorption of cocaine. So much for freedom, thus. On that note, in any case, the spirit of liberation and chain-breaking always comes with a good dose of unplanned, anarchic confusion.

The distortion levels and the general overdrive of it all afford a noise within them that - just like in that famous experiment - creates extra musical structures which are not 'actually there' but are in fact efforts your brain is making to give shape and meaning to something nebulous, noisy. This has been seen before, but Destruction Unit achieve the effect with such precision and unemotional composure that it truly is admirable. In the more 'classic' moments of the album (tracks like 'Animal Instinct', or 'Judgment Day') this effect blends into the background and what comes charmingly out to light is the pure and lucid rock & roll backbone that the music is carried by. Nevertheless, it seems their effort to go far beyond this takes them into uncertain, imprecise and moreover random territories, time will tell whether this means something valuable or not.

The effect is clear; overwhelmingly high. Swooning into classic psychedelic tropes, and out onto contemporary noisy horizons. You might not die a voodoo death but it will most certainly provoke your entrails, tempting your mind into its own infinities.

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.