Review: cM nG + Spoils & Relics – Split

Recorded where? In a dingy little room with wires tangled round cymbal stands and players forced into hunching under low ceilings? That’s certainly the impression given by cM nG’s side of this split, consisting of improvised drum thuds and tinkling cymbal wash rustling beneath an assortment of eerie tape loops (terrifyingly warped public chatter, alien breaths), clanger-esque synthesiser calls and visceral scrapes of miscellaneous material. As a listener, one is left feeling rather cramped and imposed upon by the audio – back pressed up against the bass drum, with little swoops of electronic modulation hovering dangerously close in the ceiling space above. In this case, the claustrophobic intimacy is a real plus point, and works a treat alongside the duo’s stifled, withheld dynamics.

Spoil & Relics retains the constrictions on illusionary space, but fills it with less restraint (to begin with, anyway). The split’s second half is a mutating web of feedback, choral echoes and lo-fi loops of various squeaking, rattling found sounds, settling gently into certain texture combinations before teasing the stasis through jolts of pitch bend or slow fades into somewhere else. It’s a real nightmare collage: one minute it’s a blast of screaming electronics, like someone tampering with the cockpit controls, and the next it’s tornado of factory noise and alien sex. Musique concrete for the mind’s darker, more paranoid recesses, with a gorgeously sparse latter half of noise squeals fed through some sort of astronaut intercom.