steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Fashion Victim" CD

Ad Noiseam

Genres: electronica, drum'n'bass

Ad Noiseam
c/o Nicolas Chevreux
Postfach 55 01 22
D-10371 Berlin

Dec 8 - 14 2003

Larvae's Fashion Victim is a particularly accessible departure for Ad Noiseam, everyone's favourite noise, industrial, and power electronics label.  While this disc's sound is frequently abrasive in nature, there is also a very large focus on rhythm; instead of being noise with an electronica flavour, it's electronica with a noisy flavour.

But that's all very deceiving, because overall, Fashion Victim is a remarkably relaxing album.  Larvae, aka Matthew Jeanes, has created the perfect chill-out record using equal doses of ambience, amazingly complex beats, and simple, short bits of melody.  "Tonystark" is the perfect case study; over a windy, throbbing ambience, Jeanes works with an impossibly complicated beat, melding it masterfully with a dark, gut-vibrating bassline.  The result is equal parts Aphex Twin and Plastikman.

Jeanes' noise background comes out in tracks like "The Voice Collapse" and "Crazyeye," the latter of which splices abrasive clippets of abrasion in with the beats to create a fierce block of Venetian Snares-influenced pseudo-hardcore mayhem.  "Redline Version," meanwhile, could be the album's best moment - using a simple field recording as its melodic source, the piece is a complex, endlessly changing electro cut-up that is as enjoyably listenable as it is powerfully rhythmic.

Fashion Victim is accessible, but not too much so.  Larvae straddles the line between daring experimentalism and listenable drum'n'bass music.  The result isn't as melodic as popular electronica, but still a terrific, worthwhile album for fans of electronic music.  Given the chance, Fashion Victim could be a permanent staple of your listening diet.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 10 tracks, distributed by Ad Noiseam and Soleilmoon, released 2003]