Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Homemade Extacy (Waaga, 06.2010)

For: Crystal Castles, HEALTH, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Buttons

Byline: Electro beat-terrorism from Denton, TX. White hot.

I have pretty nice headphones. I think I'ver bragged about them in past posts, but still, they are my pride and joy. Even the most malevolent noise-distortion, buried-under-an-avalanche-of-tape-hiss bands sound unbelievably deep and well mixed. It's all in the headphones. With how much I love those guys, there have been two instances where I have thrown—literally hurled them—across the room in terror. And for that, I apologize. The first was when I watched the Spanish horror film Rec. on my laptop while my wife was studying. If you've seen that film you know what I am talking about. The second time happened just yesterday, and was 10-times scarier than the incredibly terrifying final image of that film. I had unwittingly turned the iPod and volume knob to maximum volume before I put on the ol' cans. Everything was turned up to 11. Unfortunately, so was Florene. I put them on unknowingly, and with the first stab of post-industrial beats on the album's title track "Homemade Extacy" I was subjected to something louder and more visceral than the U.S government's experiments in noise-as-torture in Guatanamo Bay.

Florene is loud. Loud in that corporeal sense of chest crushing, breath-shortening oppressiveness of sound. The beats, which sound refreshingly cracked, snowed under, and homemade, are pushed to the absolute front of the mix creating a buzzing, rearview-mirror shaking front end that is informed by the post-rave of Crystal Castles and the industrial grandeur and grime of HEALTH. And Florene stacks up as a worthy contender to both in terms of both power and ingenuity. But where the aforementioned bands use electronica in its form as a launch pad into music with a dizzying amount of qualifiers, Florene is less hyphen-jammed and more likely to fall squarely into the realm of electronic music, albeit in a twisted, fractious way. While Florene's relationship to electronic music is less tangential than their predecessors, they still spit fire with the best of them. "Invitation To Sailing" is full of dizzying climaxes, false summits, and an "omni-tempo maximalism" that justifies the almost 8-minute electro-jam. Vocals, while always present, float freely beneath the cavernous beats, ascending synth lines, and post-punk bass lines in wordless jabbering, Aztec war-cries and whoops. Guitar work comes in washes of processed noise, swirling drones and gorgeous noise swells with a body count. While unhinged from the serpentine melodies on the surface, the human voice recorded low in the mix is the only thing that makes Florene three-dimensional. Without it, Florene would be all in-your-face percussion; pure beat aggression. While doing nothing to soften the exposure of being so close to a nuclear explosion, they do help to give their drawn-out compositions some much needed depth. So far Homemade Extasy has been one of the most exciting and downright jarring releases of the year. This 2010 album, released on Waaga alongside the also-promsing FUR, and soon to be released Sunglasses, represents only the glacier tip of their limited-run, self-released cassettes and CD-R releases. Homemade Extasy is a best-foot-forward kind of introduction into the musical populous. Welcome!

Ryan H.

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