What if I’d never been in a nightclub before? Furthermore, what if I had no innate comprehension of rhythm as a device for musical synchronicity and cohesion? The debut record of Metalized Man (aka Lasse Bjørck Volkmann) is like hearing music for the first time – hyperreal, oppressive, frightening – in the darkness and din of the club. The sounds that flare out of the speakers are unfamiliar, treacherous, boisterous; ultra-vivid and twice their actual size, rebounding or exploding as they collide, puncturing fogs of static or dirty subway air. Without any precedent for understanding these sounds, I perceive each new experience as a threat. Synthesised hand claps gnash at my ears, hi-hats scuttle like rodents, bass frequencies deliver their final warnings before the earth quakes open. Sounds obstruct eachother rather than interlocking, with drum beats left lop-sided after slamming into bass riffs, and delay-drenched pulses dripping intermittently like water from a corroded pipe. Loops return in limps rather than smooth rotary motions. I feel like the club is caving in on top of me, with dented walls looming on precarious slants and strobe lights becoming brighter as they lower over my head. It’s terrifying and enthralling all at once.
The album title points to the thrill and trepidation of first-time experiences, and the visceral clarity of Volkmann’s synthesis is a perfect encapsulation of this. The notions of “background” and “foreground” are in constant flux, with seemingly subordinate harmonic inflections seizing centre-frame, expanding to gargantuan proportions and then receding again. Without a steady backdrop to build upon, I’ve no choice but to remain hyperaware to everything, my attention flitting erratically between side-chained noise on my left and alarm pulses on my right, all while dodging the cannonballs of bitcrushed synth loop that Metalized Man hurls at me every once in a while. I become a puppet for my survival instincts. My head whips round to observe the source of an alien noise that crackles into life behind me, urging me to distrust the intentions of anything that steps within my field of perception. It’s exhausting. Thankfully, the adrenaline keeps me going.