Precocious Mouse ~ Virginia Creeper

a2643976488_16Virginia Creeper‘s hisses are an invasive presence, souring air and constricting oxygen.

Ringing with the shrill clang of an alarm instead of a polite purr, Virginia Creeper‘s continuing hiss is a communion, a slasher in line with the Scream series or Point Horror. The teenagers of the nineties are adults now – they shot up like the vines – and so is the music. Its adulthood has taken on a much darker tone.

Accompanied by loud exhalations (the only increase in volume on an otherwise quiet release), something venomous lies within the music, creeping up on the listener like a meandering vine, like a Virginia creeper, setting the scene in its creation of dark and microtonal music.

Its electronics are failing thanks to the foreign invader, an attack that leaves its circuitry in a tangled mess and out of breath, its nervous system on the brink of panic and shutdown. The artificial breathing is the first sign of a rhythm, but the thirty-minute, two-part episode of “askant(procedure)” contains a tangible and regular rhythm which slaps and pounds against the concrete of the pavement, echoing on a silent street in a sleeping suburb, a victim’s footsteps as they run from something in the dead of night. Something stalks the owner of those steps, and as the track builds, a bass-heavy stomp is revealed as the predator to the slinky-sounding prey. The rhythms are patient in their build-up and are constructed over silent studio sets; this intentionally brings the quiet and lean sound into the limelight, which makes it all the more noticeable. The bass frequency thrums against the eardrum.

The insidious nature of white noise brings with it a variant of tinnitus, a sharp fizzing that indicates broken connections, lacerated wires, and rusting motherboards. The contrasts within music continue on, as a constricted, minimal sound will sit compactly within a vast space; a space of silence, a space of nothing.

A small sound creates a ripple of silence around it, which, if left unoccupied, becomes a gulf of silence.

It should be an impossible contradiction, but it’s the truth, and it’s fascinating. In the silence, nothing can be missing or absent-without-leave, because nothing exists. That sense of space either terrifies or soothes. Sharply contrasting sounds crash into each other, driven by irregular patterns and intermittent tones that clash and recede as they cycle around. While heavily electronic, the music isn’t a thesis. Meticulous detail? Check. But Precocious Mouse has a playful side, too. The closer’s light syncopations are exactly that, driving the music forward and away from danger. For now. (James Catchpole) 


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