Experimental Audio Research

Pestrepeller

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It's not immediately clear from the information on the CD packaging, but this is in fact something of a remix album. Pestrepeller itself is short for Ultrasonic Attack Wave Pestrepeller, a wholly separate band involving Savage Pencil, a noted U.K. rock cartoonist, which in Boom's own description plays around with "pretty intense feedback." Having been taken by their self-titled 1996 album, also called Rodent and Insect Eliminator, Boom decided to see what he could do with it, treating their work using his trusty and often-pictured-on-cover-art EMS VCS3 synthesizer. The resultant two-part song, "Beyond the Point of No Return," was such a different piece that even Pestrepeller members said as much. Boom takes the source material of the original and turns it into the expected oscillating wash of sound split into a variety of different elements, as on the other E.A.R. releases. There's a just harsh enough edge to things at points, though, to indicate where things came from, and more particularly that the feeling was aggressive rather than enveloping. The closest parallel would be if Kevin Martin's wah-wah use on Beyond the Pale was completely subordinated to Boom's arranging while still retaining its looming, oppressive feeling. When the second part begins with a surge of layered feedback suddenly cut off and compressed, it makes for a sharp, unsettling result. The other main track on Pestrepeller, "Automatic Music," has a different origin entirely. Using another favored synthesizer, the Serge, he set it up, turned it on, and proceeded to let it do whatever it would over the course of 12 minutes. As an example of what a little preparation and planning can do in combination with knowing the capabilities of musical technology -- and as a lovely, mysterious piece in its own right, drones melting into one another -- it's a fine success.

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