Concrete Cookie & The Maggot Farmer: Mondegreen
Force of Nature

Deeply atmospheric gloomscaping by The Maggot Farmer and Concrete Cookie, Mondegreen is reportedly a significant change of pace from the duo's previous release, A Great Escape from Lunacy, issued under the Mash Up Soundsystem name on Hive Records in 2006. Eschewing the kind of brutal industrialism associated with that label, Mondegreen instead focuses on fifty minutes of dark ambient mood music. Though it's formally separated into eight tracks, it unfolds as an uninterrupted travelogue that handily induces disassociation and anxiety in the listener. After descending into the subterranean via “Richard III,” the listener stumbles through dimly-lit underground tunnels where phantom echoes and field recordings induce progressively more crippling states of disorientation and where distant sirens, train clatter, and clanking construction noises pierce the suffocating gloom. The fifth track, “Painlevé,” appears to entrap the listener within the most tormenting stage of the nightmare but even more severe is the album's coup de grace, “Polonium Symphony,” a sixteen-minute collage of unearthly tones, ghoulish voices, and factory machine convulsions; disturbing it most assuredly is but it's also an impressively realized set-piece. As the album inches towards its close in “The Reckless Sleeper,” the gloom slowly lifts, signaling the psychotic episode's termination. Given that the blindfolded listener could easily mistake Mondegreen for a new work by Formication, devotees of the latter's aural spawn should find The Maggot Farmer and Concrete Cookie's release to be just as satisfying.

January 2009