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Friday, August 22, 2008

HAGONY "Impersonal Lubricant" CDR

You couldn’t be blamed for expecting Hagony to be a rather goofy and lo-fi affair. This is a project featuring Emil Hagstrom of Cock ESP and Jason Wade of the notorious Minneapolis band Faggot. When I first saw this project appear on MySpace, I think they claimed to exclusively play amplified empty beer cans, a statement which seemed perfectly believable. This CDR comes in an economical plastic sleeve with paper insert and no attempt has been made to cover the standard branding on the disk itself. Then there’s the cover art. You can see it here. It’s not terribly offensive, but it’s not safe for work. Emil’s face and those of some political figures are pasted onto a group photo of… nudists? The back cover has Wade’s face inserted into a newspaper article about a man who ate his underwear in an attempt to beat a breathalyzer test.

Okay, I think I’ve painted a picture for you. You would now probably be just as surprised as I was to find that this album is actually carefully crafted, detailed, and intricately-layered noise. Seriously. This is every bit as good and worthy of repeat listens as any noise record pressed onto 180 gram vinyl this year.

The first track is mostly varying layered tones, somewhere halfway between drones and piercing feedback. The way the tones almost harmonize here and there creates an unsettling mood, a tension builder that leads into the second track, which explodes in a dense squall of noise. Things proceed from there with these two properties, harsh/dense and subtle/ominous, more carefully intertwined. No recognizable instruments or sound sources emerge, although I’m pretty sure those are some kind of horror movie screams submerged in the mix. And then best of all, it ends too soon! This is definitely an album and not one of those 3-minute Cock ESP releases, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

I am 100% behind artists who do not take themselves too seriously. Sometimes however, such artists’ work deserves to be taken seriously itself, and this is a fine example. Now, someone repress this thing in a deluxe vinyl format already.

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