peterMann: On the Go
Carpal Tunnel

In Carpal Tunnel's own words, On the Go, the follow-up to the 2010 peterMann collection Init, is an “aural report, … a trip through unexplored territories.” More specifically, its ten untitled tracks add up to forty-four minutes of insectoid microsound explorations. As fashioned by Carpal Tunnel co-founder Anna Xambó under the peterMann alias, On the Go, the label's fourth release, presents an uncompromising zone of raw, low-frequency noises generated by primitive machinery, muffled field recordings, and diseased life forms. Nowhere is that better documented than in the fifth piece, where the chatter of sub-aquatic organisms appears amidst wayward scrapes and crackle and within a cryptic, industrial dronescape. The ninth likewise embeds convulsive vocalizations by some mutant species within an equally convulsive setting of smears and clicks.

There are beats of a kind but they more crawl and heave than glide with the kind of celebratory robustness one associates with club music. The tracks also ignore certain conventions: while there are melodies, they're hardly the kind that lodge themselves in one's head, and any hint of narrative arc is eschewed for a more steady even-keeled flow. Though the temperature is ice-cold and the feel thoroughly isolationist, On the Go does appeal, albeit in some perverse way. The material carves out a unique, zombie-fied space for itself within an ever-expanding landscape of musical genres and mutations, and there's certainly no denying that within that space room enough should be allowed for Carpal Tunnel's distinctive brand of creeping hermeticism.

February 2013