VA: Carbon

That Carbon opens with a mutant take on Bernard Herrmann's Psycho score is perfectly fitting, as much of what follows is equally deranged. In fact, “Shower Scene” plunders the entire film soundtrack, but why quibble over minor details when Blaerg's splattercore treatment is as vicious as Marion Crane's murder. Brutalizing Herrmann's score is an interesting gimmick yet a gimmick nonetheless, and wisely the other nineteen artists on this stupefying collection of seething electronic hardcore avoid such parlour tricks. One can't help but admire Dev/Null's awesome beat constructions in “No, Seriously, I'm Like, Wicked, Evil And Shit...” and be stunned by Sickboy's country-flavoured grindcore “Kiss Me On The Dancefloor”; equally powerful are Xanopticon's spastic Aphex breaks in “Ex Nihilo,” Hecate's terrifying caterwaul “Devil Whore,” and Subskan's royally disturbed Autechre-death metal hybrid “I Don't Care.” Notably, two of the strongest pieces come from Sonicterror artists Enduser and Line 47. The former's “Basement” adds jungle beats and ragga vocal fragments to a mournful piano theme, while Line 47's “Taken Away,” the most conventionally 'musical' piece of the set, recalls Squarepusher with its affecting theme and majestic breaks-synths combination. Given the comp's merciless seventy-eight minute length, you may be waving a white flag by the time Axiome's assaultive breakbeats appear, but hang on for End's thunderous foray into Morricone territory with the spaghetti westernized “You Only Live Once.” Never has a truer disclaimer been coined than the one displayed on Carbon's inner sleeve: “At high levels, Mirex may cause damage to the skin, sense of hearing, or nervous and reproductive systems.”

October 2004