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Men Of Science – s/t

Men Of Science – s/t 7″ square picture disc (Lighten Up Sounds, 2012)


Musique Machine:

Men Of Science – Self Titled [Lighten Up Sounds – 2012]

Here’s a deliriously chunky slab of lathe-cut vinyl, from Lighten Up Sounds. It contains two tracks from Men Of Science – the nom de plume of a collaboration between Andreas Brandal and Matthew Himes – Mr. Lighten Up Sounds himself. The slab-like nature of the release, further emphasized by being cut to a square shape, is initially softened by the artwork: weathered pictures of nurses, possibly from old romance novels; but the viewer soon becomes aware of the staring eyes of the masked nurses, which assume a haunting dread…

…And a haunting dread is found in the rough grooves of the lathe-cut too. (As with most lathe-cuts, the fidelity isn’t perfect; but it’s entirely acceptable – though I have also made use of the Lighten Up Sounds Bandcamp for the purposes of this review.) Both sides have an atmosphere of creeping horror, but one achieved without obvious gestures. Instead of overloaded noise saturation, we have eerie passages of drone and scrape. This is not to suggest any politeness or frailty, however – the very visceral start of side B sounds like someone shovelling up broken bones. Indeed, the prevalent use of unprocessed and “junk” sounds gives the release much character and timbral quality. For the first side, shrill metal abuse provides those textures; whilst on the reverse, a violin takes on that role. Underpinning these foregrounded details, are low drones, distorted organs, ghost- or wind-like moans and crumbling bass textures. Each side patiently deploys these elements to construct similar pieces in terms of form and colour. No massive dynamics or jolts, just carefully paced sections which develop from one another; though side A has a small crescendo and drop. For all the talk of textural qualities, one of the most striking passages of the release is the introduction of discordant violin stabs on side B. These staccato scrapes are overtly “musical” and add immense colour.

This lathe 7″ is, in fact, already sold out; but the tracks are available on the Lighten Up Sounds Bandcamp (as mentioned above). Those with an interest in crafted sound – “noises”, rather than “noise” – will find much to occupy them here; indeed, I think I’m right in saying that the release is a taster for a forthcoming full-length from Men Of Science – certainly something that you would do well to keep an eye out for.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Martin P)

Foxy Digitalis:

What’s the deal with all these folks putting out lathe-cut records? For so long, Peter King was the only nerd in town, but in the past few years Scotch Tapes (RIP?), Corporate Records, and 2208 Records have joined the game. I can’t believe it took so long for people to copy the blueprints for themselves and build their own lathe record-cutters. Anyway, Lighten Up Sounds’ Men of Science single (LightenUpSound#053) is a joy to behold – the champs at 2208 Records have taken ‘sexy’ illustrations of nurses and pressed them between the two sides. The result is a hefty, thick, square picture disc that plays like a champ (and ends, on both sides, in a locked groove). Men of Science is comprised of noise stalwart Andreas Brandal and Himes himself, with each side of this release featuring the sounds of one reworked by the other – a teaser for a full-length cassette the duo have in the works. Side A leads mournful, droning strings through a tinny miamsa – it is subtle, but well suited to the narrow sound quality of the lathe format, as if somewhere a lonesome violinist sits in a room, transmitting his solemn lament through arcane radio frequencies. The B-side is more conventional noise/drone, with rough abrasion alternating with hushed ambience – it’s equally melancholic, but more visceral. 25 copies only! [raps knuckles with ruler] (Michael Tau)

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