Autistici: Detached Metal Voice – Early Works (Vol I)

The first volume of Autistici's Detached Metal Voice – Early Works presents forty-eight minutes of explorative experimentalism by Audiobulb main man David Newman. The collection is intended to be heard as “an abstract narrative exploring the anxiety of disconnected elements striving to find connection in a world digital communication.” On that count, it certainly succeeds: in most of the eleven tracks, fractured voices add dislocated narrative fragments to ice-cold, machine-driven settings assembled using homemade synthesizers and sinewave oscillators. Voice synthesis transmogrifies the human voice at times, and seldom is it heard in its natural form.

“On A Beach Of Pure Data” begins the recording with the click and snarl of electronic shards and flickering patterns, after which “Morphine (Detail)” combines the whirr of engine combustion noise with synthesizer squeals. Coming after such untraditional settings, “Colonic People” startles with its jazz rhythm section of acoustic bass and brushed drums, though it too serves as a springboard for a more experimental treatment when public voice announcements and mini-typhoons of noise threaten to supplant the bass and drum parts. A rhythm dimension also surfaces when “It Contains a Diagnosis” occasionally flirts with a kind of mutant robo-funk, but Detached Metal Voice – Early Works is ultimately anything but a rhythm-centered outing .

In “Babyman,” the babble of male and female speakers appears alongside cow-like moos and other mangled voice treatments, and “Whispering Mongo Man” reduces a fifteen-minute John Lennon interview to nothing more than the interstitial spaces between the spoken words—not that anyone would know by listening to the experimental setting itself, which sounds very much like the other tracks on the recording. Slightly more provocative are “They Move On Me” and “Beneath,” both of which appear to include ecstatic sounds of lovemaking filtered through electronic devices that only partially camouflage the evidence of the originating material. Be forewarned: the still-audible orgasmic moans may make you feel more like a voyeur than you'd prefer. Put simply, the recording captures the sound of Newman in his home laboratory trying out techniques and exploring ideas—process as important as result. Just don't expect to be emotionally moved by the material; being abstract by nature, the project's appeal falls more within the cerebral sphere.

April 2010