Sneaky, this Deison chap is, sneaking out a new release under a pseudonym (NOISE-d), a collaboration with the similarly industrial-minded dANI/Alvo, forming the bond of Anatomy. (The hip bone’s connected to the industrial bone.) With these two, one never knows what to expect, which is what makes Dead Man and a Skeleton Stag an intriguing listen. One thing we do know in advance – it won’t be typical.
Not only is the album different from its contemporaries, the tracks are different from each other, lending the project a slightly askew flavor but ratcheting up the sense of discovery. Even after a few plays, certain moments retain their surprise. The bass and electronic crunch of “Ghost Cocktails Intro (Drone 11 Section A)”, which follows five minutes of clocklike tones and subtle violin, is echoed by the crow squall of “Discipline With Morphine (Drone 11 Section B)”, which follows four minutes of hammers, pulses, and whispers: “breathe, breathe, breathe, quiet, quiet, quiet”. In contrast, the interlude bobs on the wind like cotton candy at a country fair. But the album’s centerpiece – its make-or-break offering – is the 14-minute “Embracing Elevolv (Slow Motion Amputee)”, which spreads a blanket of tabla and buried voices before pouring on the drones like dirt on a grave. The buried menace rises like an embalmed hand seeking revenge on the man who held the shovel. The duo returns to electronics for the closer, but offers no further climax; the impact has already been made.
The album works best as a series of patterns, sounds, and tones; consistency is a bit of an issue. The six tracks were recorded in six days, and while they seem spontaneous, a unifying sonic thread would have lend the project greater cohesion. The album’s strength lies in its unfamiliar sounds and combinations; the listener is riveted whenever they come to the fore. (Richard Allen)