Review: Robin Fox – A Small Prometheus

Robin Fox - A Small PrometheusEach track whirrs into life. Metronomic status lights and boisterous accelerating motors. Steam billowing upward and slow, humming circulations of rotary blades. A flatulent, intermittent rumble, muffled by rubber casing. I turn nervous as the noise escalates, or when things turn too quiet. Have any of these machines been tested before? The events seem sequential and purposeful (the eruption of foam in one ear triggers a dripping noise in the other), although the intensity of each stage is erratic. Suddenly I find myself deafened by water at the boil and the hiss of screws exploding out of their sockets, as motors glissando into menacing overdrive. There is theoretical method to what Fox is doing here; a cascade of causation interlinked by gears and wires. Perhaps this is the first translation from blueprint into physical object? The first time that Fox’s vacuum-sealed logic is released to the flux of the real world and all of the unexpected variables that go with it?

Fox forces me to be intimate with his music. Everything feels close and invasive. Throughout most of “3 Phase”, there is a low drip in my left ear and a high drip in my right. It completely sabotages my sense of balance. On “Antlers” I feel as though I’m having my brain hosed down, as a pressured jet of synthesiser glides through the centre of my head. Again – it feels unstable and badly calibrated, forever on the edge of imploding. It’s one thing to bear witness to these machines, but to know that their circuitry takes a detour through my head – sending oscillations of electricity jolting through my limbs – feels incredibly dangerous. Fox lights several matches. I physically flinch.