VA: Eyelicker

About as far removed from ambient as one can get, Manitoba-based Sublight's Eyelicker rounds up Schematic, Ad Noiseam, Merck, and Planet Mu personnel for a bludgeoning collection of twisted hardcore sounds. That's not always a good thing: Venetian Snares' (Aaron Funk) “Yip Yaps” and Datach'i's (Joseph Fraioli) seizure-gripped “Breech” are suitably pulverizing yet, as much as one might be mesmerized by their construction, the pieces feel soulless; the nadir arrives with Fanny's almost unlistenable “Heidi's Goatherd.” Other contributors trot out heavy artillery too: Belladonnakillz drops a roaring fireball in “Under Coverz,” while the title of Machine Drum's (Travis Stewart) “Brutality Juggle” pretty much says it all.

Far more appealing are tracks where artists aren't wholly consumed by technical intricacy. “Uxe-bu,” Wisp's (Reid W. Dunn) sparkling drum & bass outing, impresses, while 000's “600 Troposotic” wrenches bright squealing melodies from its robust machinery and Richard Devine detonates an acid bomb in “Jiffacid.” Elsewhere, Nick Forte takes a grindcore trek through the gamelan museum in “Grind Wooden Teeth” and The Gasman (Christopher Adam Reeves) drops hard-wired mutant-fusion in “Building Peax 2.” A lovely synth melody courses through The Flashbulb's (Benn Jordan) “Hometown Ufo” though one must separate out the tune's overbearing beat convulsions in order to appreciate it.

Listening to Enduser's (Lynn Standafer) writhing breakcore tornado “World Disappearing,” one could easily get the impression Sublight went out of its way to solicit the most hellacious offerings possible from the comp's contributors. Strap yourself in and expect a headache or two before the trip's over, ‘cos Eyelicker's definitely not meant for the retiring listener.

July 2006