Justin Vernon’s third Bon Iver album is a weird and wonderful thing
London Brixton Academy
They've hired a brutal beat terrorist to shut down the party tonight. We're lost in a fug of sweat and uncompromising grins, stoked by the recently departed [a]Chemical Brothers[/a], but everyone stil
For a few minutes, the sheer pummelling noise he produces is undeniably impressive. He builds up layers of harsh drums and spasmodic hi-hats, attacking his effects boxes to create an even more psychotic rhythm. There's no space for any sound to breathe, but still - as on his recent 'Decks, EFX & 909' record - a strange mathematical groove begins to form, like perfect equations emerging from a mass of chaotic numbers.
And it serves its purpose: we submit to the battering, limbs twitch, every industrial climax is greeted with a hoarse cheer. But Hawtin's dedication to such an unchanging, soulless sonic landscape is ultimately a little laughable. It seems outdated to remain a purist, in any musical genre, in these days of fruitful cross-fertilisation, especially when you stick to an unsexy hardline with such geeky zeal.
But there's no diverting Hawtin from his course: he's lost to the ever more metallic pulse. Meanwhile, all around him the rest of the world evolves a little further and maybe discovers that - hey! - this seemingly dark, extreme beat blitz is really music for the imaginatively challenged.
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