"I Started The Recession
" boldly proclaims Aaron Cox, experimental musician straight out of Wollongong, Australia through the title his new EP for project Catfight On A Hotdog. Whatever the truth of the recent worldwide logical nightmare for economists (it has been long said that if you lock 100 of them in a room not a single one of them will agree on anything), the original two piece group has evolved from the experimental post-rock/IDM/ambient of 2008's Turned Into A Pillar of Salt
to become the sole output of Aaron's personal deviant musical philosophies, insisting on the Merzbow work ethic by pumping out a new album each month, creating all his own cover art in MS paint and releasing albums in 128kbps mp3 as an artistic choice.
Indeed, Catfight on A Hotdog has always been a strange act to pin down. Aaron uses a lot of treated samples from other acts, his own skills as a classically trained musician and an unconventional "anti-music" approach to songwriting production (even for the ambient/experimental crowd) which often lands his work in a confusing position musically. I Started The Recession
is billed as a significant "progression" from his early stuff, but the truth seems to be whilst it doesn't quite reach that level to be something of its own distinct quality it is a fine ambient EP that does the Catfight on A Hotdog name justice and continues Aaron's legacy as a name to watch out for if there ever was one.
is the opening track, clocking in at 1:21 seconds it is based around a looped rock drum pattern which interweaves with dreamy synth patterns and cryptic cut-off vocals. The pristine production is flawless in its clarity, sounding nice and sparkly whilst having a tendency to "skip" the entire progression at points (breaking the fourth wall as far as music goes), introducing a swampy bass and subtle layers of lo-fi distortion to fill out the arrangements in an interesting fashion. It serves as the introduction to 24th January 2005
, which on the flipside to the brevity and crisp production of 1986
is a 20 minute long exercise in dirge encrusted ambient. Aaron makes the unusual move of wishing the kind of digital artifacts that result from destructive filters and low bitrates that most producers try to avoid to be part of his sonic template, shading the background of his soundscape punctuated by affected metallic machinery noises, feedback distortion and probing, sharp synths in a gloopy, inquisitive fashion. It's an unusual idea, and it works in a sense. Indeed, even if its ambitiousness far outweighs itself parts of 24th January 2005
sound downright chilling, especially the trumpet like electronics breaking through the dirge with a gently screeching, dissonant beauty. Rubbing against the offbeat lo-fi textures of everything else, it makes for a rather interesting listen for its entire duration.
I Started The Recession
is yet another release from an experimental Australian artist who shows much promise, and if there is anything to flaw as is common with these type of groups it is a tendency to be overindulgent in both concept and output. With a little bit of restraint, and some time to develop ideas further Catfight on A Hotdog could certainly make something special. As is the case with the aforementioned Merzbow and his infamous output, if this trend continues with Aaron it may get to the point where the listener feels they have to wade through a sea of stones to find a gem but as far as things go at current Catfight on A Hotdog is on the right track.