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MT6 Records: Part 2 – Abiku – Novelty

abiku
Photo by Bob Myaing

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MP3: Abiku – Novelty

Abiku. Not every sound they make is golden, but they are all enthralling.

Abiku’s Novelty consists of twenty-six songs, mostly falling between thirty seconds and two minutes, self-contained capsules of eerie synths, droning guitars, drum machines, and above all else, the most violent vocals maybe ever. Jarring doesn’t half describe the carnage this album leaves in its wake, having more in common with slasher films than conventional electronic music. Like those B-movies it references, the record is immediate, opting for concentrated bursts of fierce musical devastation, almost tangible textures, which, for all the music may lack in subtlety and focus, are momentarily startling, and occasionally exhilarating.

As I mentioned in my first MT6 piece (of shit, apparently), this isn’t music for everyone. I’m not sure who to recommend this album to…I don’t know who would enjoy sitting down and listening to this song by song, because also like those slasher movies, it covers the same ground for most of its running time, and what is at first encounter unsettling quickly becomes routine. Plus, it’s really difficult to hear the singer’s lyrics when she’s screaming most of the time, which is sad because the lyrics are really outstanding. As the record wears on the tracks gradually become more subdued and introspective, and the once-chainsaw synths take on more atmospheric tones, and it’s in the last quarter of the album that I find my favorite tracks. (It’s important to note, Novelty is a compilation of demos and singles from 2002 through 2005).

Lyrics range from “Did you hear about the arm that surfaced in the lake last week/It floated while the reeds were cut and no one knew where it was from/It was a girls’ but too deep in the jaws of the machine to save/It was gone it left no trace, no discoloration” (“Action Toy”) to “We found a paradise apart/A place to rest our hats and hearts/We rested well, grew fat on bread/And we went soft, we lost our edge” (“Zombie”). Really, the lyrics, once you read them, are the most impressive thing about the record. ┬áBut it’s maddeningly difficult to try to connect very much with them on account of the constant screaming.

The synth work is either oppressive (“Boxer,” “Just Like”) and haunting or bizarrely cloying (“Fairly,” “Proclomation”). Again, generally speaking the first half and then some is dominated by mostly alienating, uncomfortable sounds, but gradually becomes more comprehensible and digestible before the album’s close. The frenetic, epileptic beats slow a bit and thankfully, the screaming isn’t as gratuitous. Overall a really fine band, one I’d love to catch live sometime. The songs are captivating in theory but I think they are hurt a bit by the temper-tantrum delivery.

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One Response to “MT6 Records: Part 2 – Abiku – Novelty

  1. bob myaing says:

    WHAT A WONDERFUL PHOTOGRAPH!

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