Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mania - Grotesque Mirth

Mania - Grotesque Mirth 7''

Mania has a deep career spanning 6+ years of dishing out this idiosyncratic blend of Harsh Noise with a P.E. feel and some occasionally strange samples, i.e. "Armed To The Teeth" and the scattered assistance of Aaron Dilloway. All of the Mania material, from start to finish, have the trademark sense of turbid anxiety. Along with his obsession with firearms, it is this anxious feel, this audial frustration that is the standout quality which I have come to know, and enjoy, from Mania. 

Sometimes when it comes to such an artist, one who has been releasing material since the early 90's under a few different names, the question may arise as to whether the relentless fetisization of the actual artist and his discography and the collection there-of actually does him any favors within the context of new material. I know, for me, at first, it didn't. I wouldn't let myself enjoy Mania as much as Taint (who you all should know by now is my favorite Power Electronics unit of all time). I've compared it to having a dog for 14 years, a dog you have owned since childhood, and then it gets hit by a car and dies and you go pick up a new one. It's different and takes a bit to "warm up" to. I had to warm up to Mania, and it took some time.

On "Grotesque Mirth" the listener gets handfed two 5 minutes tracks of a more cogent and direct material. Both tracks are very active, yet when compared to his other work there are moments here that seem almost "laid back". It is direct, more exact and meticulous. Side 1 - in full on attack mode, Keith fashions together hazy static hissing out of filtered synthesizers atop some metallic percussion (44 gallon drums?). This is the type of track I think of when I think of present day American Power Electronics; patiently violent, "prowling electronics". The second track is where this 7 inch really shines. A downpour of reverberating bass thunder slams out of the speakers as a small wash of flanged, warbley mid-tones escapes the flood. Vocals are present here, in that archaic-effected-shouting style that Keith is known for, which is always a pleasing addition to any Mania record.

I appreciate Mania on many levels, one reason is because Mania makes sure that there is always an element of diversity inherent in the "music", unlike a lot of the Harsh Noise and P.E. out there today, and in Mania's case this seems to be the crux of his success, in my opinion. It distinctly feels as if there was a good deal of effort that went in to this records construction. By the way it flows, with almost nothing impeding its motion the listener can easily hear what authentic "experimental" music really is. "Grotesque Mirth" is also the result of a long process of evolution; Keith has been cumming material out for over twenty-fucking-years now, and although that little bit of subjectivity allows one to slightly favor earlier releases such as "Isolation Is Lonely Murder" and "Eros + Massacre", it would not be unwise to say that the man is at the very peak of his career with this 7''.

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