Review: Daniel Bennett – Roil

t35Discomfort is the baseline. Instead of adhering to the usual model of tension and release, Roil modulates between suffering and the expectation of it. If calamity isn’t here right now – drowning me in feedback, showering shards of electronic noise on my head – then it’s painfully imminent, gnashing from beneath as I perch upon a sheet of stasis, listening to the crackle of emergent surface splinters that fracture a silence too thin to support me. As well as possessing a disturbingly tactile depth, Daniel Bennett’s electronics emulate all manner of stressed corporeal materials: water brought to boisterous boil, glass objects squeezed to the brink of breaking, hailstones puncturing plasterboard ceilings. Sometimes the object in question is my own head, as Bennett towel-dries my hair with such vigour that the skin starts to rub away.

The bass frequencies are absolutely key: sparingly applied, beautifully shaped. Even the most familiar splutters of synthesiser noise feel dramatic again, reviving those original sensations of an instrument rewired to destroy itself, reversing the voltage so that the vibrations loop back round to rupture the very electronic chassis from whence they came. And these bass frequencies arrive after arduous minutes of absence, bursting in during the shuddering harmonies of colliding high drones, ambushing me from below while my ears are distracted by the glacial, chandelier-esque clusters of noise that dangle above. Everything here is designed to shatter. It’s just a matter of when.

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