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Sweet Lord, this tape has proper caved my head in. It’s as though AJA’s mind had literally exploded onto tape, resulting in a blistering and glorious cacophony of relentlessly powerful, unhinged, and cathartic racket.
‘Rattles’ opens the tape with menacing drum machine eruptions and vocals that appear to be uttering some ancient demonic tongue. It feels like we’re in the very presence of a woman possessed. The brutal detonations of the nightmarish ‘Charge’ make way for a hellish soundscape - her voice sounds like it’s bleeding through from another dimension and begging to be released into this one. ‘Sweet Pearls’ goes in hard with juddering, twitchy drums and manic, deranged vocals to match. The effect something akin to being in a storm carrying a plague of microscopic lifeforms that flood every orifice, resulting in a brutally helpless sensation, before they retreat leaving a foul miasma in their wake.
‘XLR’ utilizes negative space to intensely creepy effect, brilliantly conjuring a push and pull atmosphere and dynamic where she appears to be hovering above some dark forces attempting to drag her down into some black realm while her vocals ascend and dissolve into wispy, spectral trails. It all floods out on ‘Tuck It, Tape It’, a sonic manifestation of anger, frustration and pain articulated through hammering repetition, screeching and howling. At its most intense point, it just absolutely scorches like acid spraying at you from the speakers, dissolving your physical being and resulting in a powerful separation of mind and body. Finally, the putrid gurgling and bestial K-hole dub of ‘Black Stain’ makes way for the futuristic war zone industrial techno rave of closer ‘Marbles’.
AJA captures a raw primal energy - her music is a pure eruption of self and the subconscious, executed with a skill and finesse which is pretty astounding for a debut release. Her music is a transgressive splatterfest of dark and psychedelic sound which reminds us that fundamentally, us humans are just fucking animals. Don’t wimp out on the volume, and let this lady’s magnificent, heavyweight sound just pound you into the pure ecstasy of oblivion.
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