Friday, 13 June 2014

Shivers - Shivers (Miasmah)


It's fitting that the excellent cover suggests film noir and the title's taken from David Cronenberg's first film because the atmosphere reeks of mean otherworldly streets where parasitic evil monsters lurk. Track titles such as Rabid, Brood and Replicant give the influence away but don't prepare you for the sound brewed up by the trio of Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek), Gareth Davis and Leo Fabriek. Despite Davis's bass clarinet and Fabriek's drum kit mixed with Fabriek's electronics the term 'electro-acoustic' doesn't quite apply. Davis' playing in 'free' mode is mood-enhancing rather than dominant and upfront Improv, as demonstrated on the opener, Ash. Whilst at times it threatens to lurch into heavy metallic-electro, thankfully it refrains due to Fabriek not maintaining a regular beat but adding thunderous punctuation instead.

Davis is more prominent on Otomo during the first half but is consumed by an avalanche of electronic mire as the piece evolves. Here and elsewhere the heaviness is reminiscent of Last Exit's bassy weight compounded by Peter Br√∂tzmann's sax playing. But whilst Rabid kicks off like Otomo Yoshihide a swift edit slides it into far more restrained territory with Davis almost playing melodically whilst Fabriek kicks things along and Zuydervelt adds a subtle keyboard. Replicant similarly begins all bluster and noise but moves into moody ambient mode halfway before increasing the pressure again.

The ghost of Howard Shore, who originally scored Shivers and The Brood, may lurk as a reference, but there's something of John Carpenter on Brood, which acknowledges his trademark synth sound without, as so many have done, simply imitating, since the track definitely has it's own identity. Double bass and drum keep the momentum going on Spacek, which rumbles along in fine style. It's soaked in the kind of brooding (ha-ha) menace that permeates most of what is a very satisfying, dark fusion of genres on an album that virtually creates a new one, which I'm not about to try and name.


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