Saturday, May 21, 2016

Plague Mother - Lavender In Flame

Genre: Power electronics
Country: USA

Plague Mother's work is never pleasant to listen to, but with the possible exception of 'The Faithful Supine', 'Lavender in Flame' is arguably the Wisconsin PE pedlar's most aurally demanding creation. Opening with an ear-splitting peal of obnoxiously high sine waves, both sides play on the conjunction of this whistle and of crunching, unforgiving blocks of white noise. The effect of this pairing is something deeply unsettling, even when overlooking the obvious initial physical barrier. The whistles, akin to shrieks, sound pained and desperate when breaking through the thick blocks of distortion. Remove the blocks, 'save the tortured' as it were, and you realise that the entity you thought you were saving turns its sadistic mind on you instead.

The aforementioned admittedly does give the impression of this being a wholly impenetrable piece, completely without merit or purpose further than auditory masochism. As it happens, 'Lavender in Flame' isn't totally unlistenable (although it does require plenty of initial substance to get through it all first time around). Inspecting closer, the seemingly monotonous whistles are filled with small glitches; little industrial grinds and miniscule changes in frequencies that give what would otherwise be flat, boring noises dimension and shape. The white noise is hardly a simply on/off affair either, and along with the dynamic changes implemented, there are several distinct 'pitches' to each that provide them with their own discernible characteristics. Some are 'safer', allowing the listener to hide slightly in their lower, thicker timbre, while the slightly thinner, higher walls are arguably the scarier, allowing the sines to perform their aforementioned deceptive work. These little bits of what variation are what make 'Lavender in Flame' what it is; for those willing to be consumed by its undeniably uncomfortable presence, there's a surprising amount to be gained from such a small package.

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