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I've been wildly curious about hearing this album after hearing Rashad Becker perform live at Islington Mill in Salford a few months ago. It was one of the strangest sounding performances I think I've ever heard live, unlike anything I think I've experienced before. Rashad Becker's name has been etched into the run out grooves of hundreds of records cut at Berlin's Dubplates and Mastering house w ...

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Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. I by Rashad Becker
4 reviews. Write a review for us »
9/10 Ant Staff review, 09 August 2013

I've been wildly curious about hearing this album after hearing Rashad Becker perform live at Islington Mill in Salford a few months ago. It was one of the strangest sounding performances I think I've ever heard live, unlike anything I think I've experienced before.

Rashad Becker's name has been etched into the run out grooves of hundreds of records cut at Berlin's Dubplates and Mastering house where he works as mastering engineer but this is the first record to bear his name where he is responsible for the music.

This is one of the most original and unique pieces of work I can recall hearing for some time. Strange rubbery sounds seem to wrap themselves around and wriggle against weird horn like sounds, what sound like bizarre fluxus inspired manipulated vocals creep in here and there, insectoid buzz and hum with electronic belches and gurgles making for quite possibly one of the most alien sounding records you're likely to hear this year.

What's also interesting is that Rashad may have subconsciously been absorbing the sounds of Berlin which have somehow crept into the music, whether intentional or not it does feel like the pulse of the city has been somehow incorporated into the grooves. This really sounds like no one else on the planet, perhaps like some fantasy collaboration of Florian Hecker and Stephen Stapleton both at their most far out.

How many artists out there have mastered and cut their own records? This guys grasp on sound is truly in a league of its own. Highly recommended in usual PAN house screen-printed PVC sleeve.

 

10/10 James Customer review, 14th August 2013

Sounds like two balloons fighting a rattlesnake inside a PA. With the bass all the way up. Record of the year?!


10/10 Morten Bonde Customer review, 11th August 2013

Couldn't agree more with the review. It's an amazingly inspiring album that takes you to another world. This is the kind of music I search for everyday, but only find rarely.


9/10 Steven Customer review, 9th August 2013

Everyone with an eager interest in electronic and noise music is familiar with the name of Rashad Becker as cutting vinyl. With this function he appears on many of the best releases of the past years and is known for accentuating the specific sound of every artist he's working with. I guess it was only a matter of time until he starting to work on his own music. PAN now released Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. I, a record split eight short episodes of, yeah, what exactly? What Rashad Becker delivers here isn't music exactly, it's one of the things hard to explain to anyone who's not interested in getting overwhelmed by distortion. The most fitting comparison coming to mind are probably other records released by PAN within the past years, like Ben Vida and Florian Hecker, even though Becker's constructions seem a little more accessible, a little more melodic than Vida and Hecker. His first musical output is less aggressive and less disturbing, yet just as fascinating as the aforementioned.
Becker makes good use of many layers of distortion and ends up realising his vision of a synthetic sound world. The pieces are divided into Dances and Themes and are cutting their way through the reality we are facing while listening to it: Becker's sound art has nothing to do with what we are facing every day anymore. It's so far our there it could be accompanied by scenes of futuristic nightmares. Only the highly controlled development of these pieces keep everything from falling apart. It is what makes this record into a piece of art instead of pure devastation.
Remember The Hitchhiker's Guide Through the Galaxy and how Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect are being ditched by the Vogons into the nothingness of space? This is what is must sound like. But do you also remember what happens after that? I don't know how Rashad Becker manages it but there's always hope in his nightmares, there's something to hold on to in this record that makes it stand out from just being noise.


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