Melk the G6-49

Mene Mene Tekel Parsin

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Ever heard the phrase "He saw the writing on the wall"? Well, that's a reference to one of the spookier bits of the Old Testament, a passage in the book of Daniel concerning a portent of doom for the Babylonian king, where a disembodied hand appears before him and writes "Mene Mene Tekel Parsin," which turns out to basically be Aramaic for "you're hosed, big boy." What does this have to do with Melk the G6-49's improvisational debut album? Good question. The 21-track Mene Mene Tekel Parsin actually really consists of only three proper songs, titled "Mene," "Tekel," and "Peres," and divided into exactly two-minute segments. So yeah, that's kind of annoying and precious in terms of structure (though imagine the fun when they show up in iPod shuffle play), but the pieces themselves have a conceptual interest that's largely lacking from some of the duo's later, skronkier albums. "Mene" is the most conventional tune, a feedback drone with percussion that at times drifts off into a simple bliss-out. The following two songs take a more daring use of silence: huge swathes of both are almost entirely silent, making the clattering drum fills and aggressive, distorted bass lines into jagged interruptions into the listener's ambient soundspace instead of something to be actually listened to. Yes, pretentious as heck, but unfortunately, Melk the G6-49 after this album (which was originally released in limited form in 2001) turned into a far more boring and aggressive noise rock duo after this, so these limited ideas are, in retrospect, a lot more interesting than what came after.

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