Blast Furnace

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Scott Sturgis' second CD release as Converter, Blast Furnace, picks up where Shock Front left off. Both releases are aptly named -- Shock Front was a constant force of percussive noise, but Blast Furnace has gone a step further with the structured sound of metals twisting out of shape. Everything about Blast Furnace is a footnote to a hostile aural environment. For fans of power noise, this is only a good thing. The layers that build the soundscapes of Blast Furnace are not too different in construction from Shock Front. Sounds work both together (in layers) and against each other (such as conflicting highs and lows) to a constant rhythm, giving a full and continuing texture. Tracks such as "Error" are reminiscent of Shock Front at times, but Shock Front has no equivalent for the epic dancebeat violence of "Death Time" or "Flower." The methods are the same, but on the whole the character of the sound is inherently more energetic and aggressive. That said, Blast Furnace has a greater range than distorted beats, at times breaking into flowing soundscapes (like "Be Broken") that paint scenes with shards of sounds that are at least as compelling as the energetic tracks. Even the dancier tracks do not stay content in the same mode, instead introducing new elements and changing direction often enough to make even the longest of tracks (about eight minutes of structured noise) blur past. Converter's ability to retain constancy and completeness without become a headache of monotony makes Blast Furnace one of the tightest and best realized power noise releases of 2000.

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