Review: Contact Group Of Homemade Experimental Electronic Music & Noise – Election USA 2012: A Sound Reaction

Recently I was sat at the breakfast table of a quaint B&B farmhouse in the Cotswolds, talking to an American couple about their muddy treks across countryside walking routes and visits to cutesy nearby villages (Broadway, Hidcote, Stanway). My girlfriend then posed a question about the US elections – this was about a month before the big day, at a time where the multimedia barrage of presidential campaigning was increasing in velocity all the while – and was met with impulsive shudders and grimaces. “We’ve come over here to get away from all that – we can’t stand it”, one of them said. UK coverage of the election build-up focused in part on the inundation of aggressive political advertisements with which US TV and radio was awash; a constant, invasive boxing match of spitting put-downs and airy promises, numbing audiences to the actual content and amassing to a stream of meaningless noise.

It’s not clear whether Jim Barker (aka Tripod Sardine) was thinking of this in particular when compiling the record, but I imagine US citizens were forced to endure something similar (in sensation at least) to the piercing electronic noise of Der Domestizierte Mensch, or the mundane repetitions of static and slick politician’s monologue samples of Rudkus. Months of relentless commercial barrage are bent and twisted into mangled abstraction; content lost within the ferocious bludgeoning of misshapen form. Interpretations here are vast – some contributors choose to craft an atmosphere of ominous organ tones and commotional snippets of delay and synthesiser (Dave Fuglewicz), while others tackle the source inspiration more directly, slicing up candidate speeches and news reports into a spew of lost phonemes, scattering structured sentences into a tirade of nonsense (Tripod Sardine). All of the contributions come from the Contact Group Of Homemade Experimental Electronic Music & Noise; a diverse collection of artists (working with beats, electronics, samples and synthesisers) who find a unity within their DIY, scissors-and-glue aesthetic and lo-fi production. So regardless of the noisy disarray gracing the individual tracks, the compilation itself actually feels satisfyingly whole and fluid.

 

The compilation can be obtained for free download here and here.