TV Pow

Mort Aux Vaches: Being Nice Is Funny

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Released as part of the label Staalplaat's Mort Aux Vaches series, Being Nice Is Funny is TV Pow's most experimental proposition, pushing into very abstract electronica territory on the verge of sound art. Todd Carter, Brent Gutzeit, and Michael Hartman emit blips and clicks, building very fragile glitch sculptures. The opener, "All Previous Systems Included," and its sister, "Thinking + Learning," disappear under the limit of audibility in a way similar to Bernhard Günter's works. At times the music recalls glitch hero Carsten Nicolai (in the very cold and stripped-down "Just 10 Years Ahead of You"), at others it flows more organically like Poire_Z or Ossatura. But splitting the album into separate likenesses is not doing it justice, since it takes the form of a continuous 38-minute suite. Envisioned like this, Being Nice Is Funny reaches a higher level. The construction appears more convincing as a whole. It shows a good (if wicked) sense of drama, coming close to "cinema for the ear." The members of TV Pow are at their best when using field recordings and playing with textures. One can't help but feel betrayed when they come back to glitchy digitalia -- not that they do it badly, it's just that the music becomes more generic, less memorable. A good album nevertheless, to be listened to with headphones and under perfect conditions.