After briefly retiring the Main name to work on other projects, Robert Hampson returned in collaboration with the Antenna Farm duo on this release, the first in a projected new series by the Staalplaat label. Initial collaborative recordings in the Netherlands were combined with other efforts in the U.K., resulting in this five-track release. Those familiar with the ultimate extremes of Hampson's work will find his efforts here a fine balance between past musical paths and new departures. He seems to have embraced the possibilities of glitch production for his relentless rhythms in much the same way as fellow heavy psych extremist Brad Laner did for Electric Company. Antenna Farm's work, being already grounded in that field, slots in nicely with the new focus here, the resulting collaborations being a fine balance between the duo's computer abuse and Hampson's drone-derived feedback treatments and alien sheets of sound. Bursts of static tones sound almost like alien transmissions from somewhere far off in the galaxy; almost animalistic tones of slurping and gulping crop up here and there among bursts of buzzing that cyclically reappear in the mix. The five tracks -- untitled but described via frequency transcriptions in the liner notes -- collectively live up to their creators' overall reputation for ignoring the easily tuneful for challenging, involving results. More organic methods of noisemaking occur -- the second track starts off with what could be a bunch of clattering pieces of wood, perhaps not. The final track provides a suitably gripping conclusion to AF_M, revisiting styles used elsewhere on the disc and adding new elements, such as a relentless echoing chime increasingly swathed in static noise.
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