LRAD: Fragment Syntax
Carpal Tunnel

Fragment Syntax features nine unnamed tracks of murky industrial techno originating from somewhere in Spain. Calling the fifty-five-minute collection—the first album by LRAD (Gerard Roma) for the newly established Carpal Tunnel imprint—techno in even a qualified form may be a tad misleading, as the tracks are anything but conventional dance-floor material. Sounding more like the product of a laboratory bunker than recording studio, Fragment Syntax presents heavily textured drone-ambient settings whose glitchy, low-frequency sounds churn rhythmically in place for anywhere from three to nine minutes (that LRAD is characterized as “a brand new dissuasion tool based on implacable repetition and extreme audio processing” is telling). The croaks in track three coalesce into something resembling high-spirited schaffel; in four, vinyl smears produce a lulling backdrop for minimal techno elements burbling at the forefront. Wrapped in blurry tones and micro-electronics, tracks five and seven are like thumping techno bangers violently struggling to escape from strait-jackets of textures and tones, while six resembles a minimal house cut pushing its way to the surface of a chemical reservoir. The most overtly dance-related track is the unfettered eighth, whose clangorous machinery pounds and squeals vociferously. Alien, insectoid, atmospheric, and subterranean, the LRAD sound possesses a certain undeniable charm, to some degree because the field isn't overcrowded with like-minded stylists. And, though the template is restricted by design to some degree, Roma uses contrast inventively to differentiate one track from the next.

January 2010