You gotta figure;if you put together eighty
tracks on one record, aren't they bound to all start sounding the
same? Hell, even those ten-thousand artist microsecond compilations
end up molding together into homogeneous goop after, oh,
five minutes or so.
But Pål Asle Pettersen, now here's a character who digs sound, and
the aptly-titled Skitt expressly clarifies that very notion as it
Skitters across a madcap tsunami of outer-limits
zaniness. These unusually concise
fragments bound feverishly from one concept to the next, masticating
noise, electronics, and acoustic instruments throughout
the record's length.
Its zany, maudlin stuff made by and for the shortest attention span
possible. Glimpse an
average five-track stretch: a grumbling sandy tape loop;
then pretty clarinet and guitar touched with static fuzz'n'click;
spasmodic sample rabble; four seconds of blistering noise; rickety
junk rock. And all that in only a few minutes...
Skitt can be a challenging listen for
those of us who like our ideas fleshed out, but Pettersen brings to
the table a sheer joy for sonic experimentation, allowing each
concept its due time to quickly uncurl before being shunted away in
favour of the next thought. Every listener will surely devise their
own preferred stanzas, though my most-treasured
nuggets include the blissful, momentary drone of "hrmlp," eerie waterphone
snip "bldrsmn," and horror-hypnosis vortex "drnedrnn." But to refer to only a few
tracks is to ignore so much of this diverse beast, which plummets
through more styles than one might bear to count.
There are, even,
several melodic and even accessible moments -- like the a capella "nr1 cpll,"
cutesy, dinky techno-popper "skkrpoppmkk," and folky campfire
twinkle "pskdel" -- although (to be fair!) the bulk of the
record occupies itself with more abstract experiments.
But while Skitt offers plenty to talk
about (at least for the ever-verbose music critic), it also
challenges facile description due to sheer abundance of topics. It's
this very paradox which forces me to euthanize this scrawl before it
devolves further into tortuous categorization; instead I'll leave
the sturdy and brave listener to bear independent witness to this
multifarious adventure. Godspeed!