The elusive minimal wave act In Aeternam Vale continues to deceive and astound with 'Gnd Lift', the fourth in a series of 12" singles. The order of the day this time is to complete strip the word "single" of all meaning, with a fourteen minute long-form piece that sees In Aternam Vale turn their attention to techno. The B-side offers two tracks that see them back in he comfort zone, delighted by good ol' wave.
7/10 Laurie Staff review, 27 November 2014
For those who don’t know, GND lift is a way of removing that buzzy hum from your knackered cash converters amp, and is also the title of cold techno group In Aeternam Vale’s latest 12”, their fourth on Minimal Wave. To use such a practical technique for your release name speaks volumes for the music embedded in the wax, and serves as an opportunity for IAV to flaunt the gear knowhow hidden in their undies. Ooh, naughty!
The A side is just one fat not-that-naughty techno plodder that lasts a whole 14 minutes or so. That’s a lot of grim atmosphere for yer lucre. It’s a gradual, minimal piece built around a simple midtempo beat surrounded by windy gusts and distant snarls absolutely smothered in reverb. Unfortunately it’s a little too minimal for the length, a bit like that recent Skarn one, and would perhaps benefit from occasional variation either towards silence or a grander sound. You won’t lose your minimal cred, I promise!
Flipping over, the 12” gets a much more driving feel, turning up to 11, or at least a solid 7.5. Straight away you’re greeted by an insistent Frenchman telling you that he has eaten ‘des nerfs’ - after a quick google search to remedy my rusty French, it either means ‘nerves’ or ‘strengths’. Okay dude, just keep talking, maybe it’ll make sense eventually (spoiler - it doesn’t). Regardless, there’s this raw quivering bass thing underpinning the track, acting as the first stepping stone to more bursts of static later on. Now we’re here. It’s repetitive as fook, like being trapped in a haunted house at a Parisian fairground, almost to the point of boredom but constantly throwing skeletal noises at your face. The most noticeable thing about this side though is the darkwave/synthpop style which was a bit too distant on side A, continued on B2 with a downcast stomper featuring some almost stadium-rock drum machines. Reminds me of Richard H. Kirk’s recent new/old release just less dreary.
Trying to sit in both the techno and darkwave worlds at the same time is often difficult to navigate away from the plain dull, and sadly the title track doesn’t quite hit in the right places unlike ‘J’ai Mange Des Nerfs’. So yeah my Gnd is partially lifted.
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- Gnd Lift by In Aeternam Vale
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