Zbigniew Karkowski / Lin Zhiying – SWITCH


There’s a moment in Frank Zappa’s “The Central Scrutinizer” on Joe’s Garage Act 1 where “cruel and inhuman punishments” are being prepared for those who will dare to continue making music. Those adjectives nicely describe the sonic matter contained on Switch, articulated (sort of) through two long pieces where Karkowski and Zhiying give the green light to the forces of evil. In the first part we’re immediately assaulted by radical distortion and snippets of “regular sounds” triturated, chewed, spat out and redeployed according to a “survival of the fittest ear” law. But if you wear headphones something changes: the impressive mass of guerrilla violence reveals a surprising inner logic, a game of hidden sequences and bubbling combustibility. If Iannis Xenakis had promised his soul to Merzbow at the crossroads, this could have been the result. The second half starts a little less vehemently, alternating discharges of white noise and pulsating electrostatic throbs and, on the whole, shows more dynamic shaping of the fruits of dismemberment. Don’t look for neighbourliness, though – the attitude remains scathing, the composers’ fortress of cynicism absolutely inviolable, the record ending in the same sneering coldness. Testing membranes and nervous resistance alike, this CD is the definitive repellent for the insects buzzing around the mellifluous syrup of Easy Listening. It remains to be seen if it can enhance the functional mechanisms of the brain or it’s just another step towards well-deserved mental and social isolation.


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