Disorienting, haunting, paranoid - these are just a few of the words that might justly spring to mind on your first listen of Shampoo Boy. Crack might well be named for the time this trio from Vienna looked into the tiny space between the fabric of the world. Filled with nihilistic and delirious noise, this is not for the faint of heart.
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No one on Blackest Ever Black has ever asked the question “what’s the crack?”, so I assume this record isn’t about chilling, hanging or making plans for a nice evening. Shampoo Boy are more after the terrifying, electro-acoustic, dark ambient vibe, taking tissues of sound and connecting them to create long-form disasters. ‘Crack’, then, is named after the faults in infrastructure, and how they serve as part of the architecture, as well as a loss of it.
“Spalt” tinkers with deviating sounds, the band making contact with objects to create nervy percussive sounds while also shifting a gentle type of white noise. The ambience is surprisingly sweet, implying terror but ultimately sounding becalmed, even when they introduce synthesizers and a bit of Tim Hecker self-destruction. The second track, which incorporates cagey water droplets and a disturbing clattering of contact noise, offers the real evil, a claustrophobic space to crawl into and never come out of; the percussion, which sounds like chairs being reshuffled dramatically, goes grimly with the fierce rumbling of power electronics.
The two pieces on the second side of this record sustain that atmosphere, recycling the watery motifs and offering the kind of noise you expect to hear when you illegally open a hatch. Closer “Bruch III” simultaneously sounds like like somebody’s going to get you and nobody is ever coming to get you, which sums up ‘Crack’ in a nutshell: a horrible trial of sounds that is as empty as it is cramped.
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