This is a blog devoted to music on the edge - experimental, underground, alternative, subversive, or just plain weird - new music that tries new things, or old music that broke old rules. It's a place to discuss ideas, share discoveries, to think about what makes music interesting and challenging but still good to listen to. Join in and have your say!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The post-punk tribal new-world focussed chaos of Scattered Order

I think I used to think that being ordered meant being predictable. Being neat. Being unadventurous. That’s what I used to think – until today, when an EP called A Solar Rush Towards a Treble Heaven by a Sydney-based trio called Scattered Order arrived in my mailbox and I popped it into the sound system, and I heard layers of strange and unpredictable sounds, billowing and blowing in all directions, raising the roof with their adventure and energy, but all of it ordered. Coherent. Belonging. Fitting in.

If you had to put Scattered Order into a genre box, you would probably choose post-punk, given their use of repetitive krautrock-esque beats, their use of synthesisers and electronic experimentation, but they would be a hendecagonal piece in a heptagonal hole, given all the dimensions and shapes and shades that abound in their music.

A Solar Rush Towards a Treble Heaven begins in a blaze of cosmic energy with ‘Babble Fridge’, sounding like all the nations of all worlds of all times have come together in a celebration. Everywhere you look there is some colour; everywhere you listen there is unbridled festivity – primitive tribes dancing with new world androids. This is music that seems to be able to find a place for everything.

‘This here loop’ is more earnest, more determined, but no less full of drive and vigour. It feels like music with a purpose, a point, music with a mission, where snaps of spoken vocals intermingle with electronic whirs that bombard the music with an ambiguous energy, dance-like, war-like, amidst the incessant life-force of tribal beats.

Those beats are underscored by a more menacing bass in ‘April Which’, and overshadowed by a high, harsh treble wail, like alien woodwind pushed to its extremes, while the vocals chant their haunted, freaky, post-punky chant. And yet, amongst all of it, the music still feels like it is celebrating something. No matter how severe it gets, this music never stops having fun.

A Solar Rush Towards a Treble Heaven finishes with its longest track, ‘Trafficeternityleftlegout’. Here, there is something happening everywhere. Frenetic, unending traffic. Maybe it is the title, or maybe it’s the music doing it of its own accord, but this track conjures up for you those film images of multi-level mazes of highways, with sped-up footage of traffic bustling in every direction. Smooth, relentless, organised lasers of chaos.

This is an album that, in its 26 minutes, does exactly what you would expect music, so packed with contradicting, conflicting energies, to do – it leaves you exhausted and exhilarated. It leaves you feeling the new and the old have always shared the same space, crammed so close, that the only sensible thing for them to do is to procreate and produce some scattered order.

Make sure you check out Scattered Order’s website.

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