Cock E.S.P.

Excessive Size Punisher

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AllMusic Review by

Whether a side project of Wrong or its own lumbering beast -- Eric Hagstrom from that band makes up the group, along with sometimes-Wrong guests Weasel Walter and Matt Bacon -- Cock E.S.P. on Excessive Size Punisher is out to show that electronics and scrap metal can be a musician's best friend. The mostly short tracks -- barely a handful out of 30 that graze across the two-minute barrier -- are collected from studio and live recordings both, and can generally be described as what happens when someone realizes that early Einst├╝rzende Neubaten, Merzbow, and Aube are all one needs as inspiration. Traditional songs? No room for you here. It's a recipe to send anybody who demands melody screaming into the street begging for suicide with their amorphous feedback abuse, but everyone else gets the equivalent of grindcore for the noise scene. That songs would be titled "The Pursuit of Crappiness," "Hologram of Balls," and "Seminal Noise Artistry" seems perfectly appropriate. There is actually a sense of dynamics that keeps things from merely being undifferentiated howls; while adhering to no conventional rhythms as such, the sudden shifts between low and high, screeching frequencies (and from noise to silence as each tune abruptly ends) pack their own punch. Even more surprising on first glance is that a number of the live tracks are indeed honest-to-goodness attempts to transform a studio recording into a concert staple -- in a way. The quiet, lengthy beginning to "Bored Entertainer" appears to be its own joke, while the self-descriptive "Soundcheck" gives a peek at the men behind the front cover masks. If the recording levels on such songs as "Cock Sequence" and "Big Show/No Go" are a bit less full-bodied on live tapes, just heed the words of Julia Gilman's liner notes, saying "As a static recording you own merely a scab of the Cock E.S.P. experience."