Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Pen Test on Moniker Records

From their dense press release, which reads like a wikipedia entry written by horse_ebooks, I get the sense that The Pen Test is fixated on extreme detail. The duo out of Minneapolis constructs precise synth compositions reminiscent of Pauline Oliveros but even she had more looseness in her repetition. These guys stick to an exact equation that evolves like the Autobahn.

A-Side's "Biology A" fades into a bubbly synth in what must be the only hint at randomness fading in and out, rising just above the surface and then back down again, bobbing in the tide of wave forms, a buoy in the crests. The peaks of this get higher and more pronounced as the treble slowly returns. It still somehow sounds like the mechanical floor of an assembly line, the pieces hissing and whirring away building god knows what, probably just more machines. An almost off key theremin whine picks up it's own independent melody that could be eastern inspired in it's minor key, finding itself in this perfect maze with no exit. They Live or or The Street Trash soundtrack comes to mind, (thanks Travis) although This has a lot more serious direction and cycles through loops of computer pop with one thing in mind - You will like this, human.

B-Side's "Biology B" fades in on a higher range atmospheric pitch with that low moog bass line slowly working under the surface. I think it's funny to title these tracks "biology" when every second of this has a heavily processed structure and nature is usually a dirty, chaotic mess, although now that I mention it when you dig down to a certain level you see this kind of precision in snowflakes or quartz and I think that's what the inner labels are getting at. The quivering high pitch rapidly oscillating sine waves are hypnotic, consistently vibrating just in and out of sync slightly. They embrace the lack of humanity in creating compositions with circuits and triggers, tubes and pitch wheels. The alternative soundtrack to Computer Chess.

Playing tonight at Death by Audio (R.I.P). Utilize your currency to procure a copy of this seven inch vinyl record from Moniker Records.

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