Pure
Fetor


5.0
classic

Review

by Jacquibim CONTRIBUTOR (63 Reviews)
November 12th, 2014 | 62 replies


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist


With the advent of the Information Age, “experimental” has become something of a precarious word, often dismissed as an avenue for flunkies to have themselves excused of any and all criticism, simply because they can get themselves termed as such. When the object of a genre – such as power electronics – is the very deconstruction of age-old musical principles, a revolt of this nature comes as no surprise, especially given the extent to which artists will go to offend both the public and the establishment. Matthew Bower’s opus Fetor is in a unique position in that it is neither overtly offensive nor a total departure from musical norms, but at the same time manages to convey a feeling of pure dejection better than any of its significantly more extreme brethren.

The atmosphere of Fetor cannot merely be summed up with a handful of superlatives, seeing as it’s one of the very few albums to genuinely merit descriptors that are often liberally given to albums of this sort. To say Fetor is “haunting” or “disturbing” would be to sell it short by way of verbal redundancy, regardless of whether the aforementioned terms are the most appropriate labels available. A significant portion of the album’s appeal stems from its relatively subdued aesthetic in comparison to albums of a similar vein, utilising waves of feedback, gritty drones, distorted guitar lines and static-laden vocals in a way that engrosses the listener rather than assaults them. Opener “Moral Stain” consists of a looped drone that intermittently changes pace as well as pitch, sometimes coupled with a separate layer forming what can be described as a crude polyrhythm. The track’s eerie framework is complimented by Bower’s indecipherable shrieking, and the end result is like an aural companion piece to a 1930s surrealist-horror film.

Oddly enough, Fetor is remarkably easy to connect with, by virtue of a conscious and methodical approach to crafting soundscapes that play on our natural craving for consonance and relief. It would be wrong to say the album is easy on the ears, but it strikes a perfect balance between sonic abrasion and sparse though rewarding elements of convention. This is most apparent during the middle of the album, where the relatively formless aesthetic is dropped in favour of an approach more reminiscent of noise rock than power electronics. “Fulcrum/23” and “Venereal Flesh” are both trance-inducing numbers that repeat their respective oddball riffs ad infinitum, before dissolving once again into the sinister industrial soundscapes that opened and duly close the album. Impressions of Fetor will vary from listen to listen, but whatever the mental image it manages to conjure, be assured that few albums will match its sheer potency.

Fetor is not the kind of album to rupture your eardrums in an extraneous quest to achieve the most extreme sound imaginable, instead, it blends the atypical with the familiar to create an experience that is incredibly cerebral. Fetor can be intimidating, it can be disheartening, it can even be meditative in some bizarre way. Whatever the application, Fetor will be the embodiment of your most enigmatic thoughts, and what you personally take from it will be more a reflection of yourself than it.



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user ratings (29)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2014


15213 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dedicating review #60 to this amazing album.

Also I should point out that I'm reviewing the original version with the original tracklisting/names.

Digging: Blaspherian - Upon The Throne of Eternal Blasphemous Death

Gwyn.
November 12th 2014


15322 Comments


Felt the ending line of the review was a little meaningless... Seeing as almost (Only say almost to not say absolutely) all ambient music places large emphasis on allowing the listener to project some kind of imagery or thought process much of ambient's power inherently comes from whatever you can project onto it, sometimes it's more obvious than others though.


But that was the only issue I have with this review, great work. I only ever heard this once, but it was in around May 2013 and it's very evident I was not ready for something like this at all. I will definitely give it another go, eventually.

Let
November 12th 2014


663 Comments


Good review, I've seen a lot of people rec this but I haven't given it a proper listen. Also art is a vag?

Digging: SHXCXCHCXSH - Linear S Decoded

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2014


15213 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cheers dude, you need to revisit this one for sure, certain you'd dig it now.

Oh and this isn't ambient, though it functions pretty similarly to ambient at times, particularly the last
track.

And I have no idea what the art is, re-issue art is sick tho.

Gwyn.
November 12th 2014


15322 Comments


It is Power Electronics which is similar (and closely related) to Harsh Noise, which is just ambient/psychedelia with a very, well, harsh aesthetic, plus I recall this being particularly heavy on the atmosphere (Proper of ambient music), with all the screeching walls of sound and droning.

But either way yeah, what I recall seems particularly pleasing, but I can't imagine working too well outside of a mood so I'll to remember to check it out when I feel it's appropriate.

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2014


15213 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Someone's been reading the Pulse Demon sound off page ;)

Thanks anyways < 3

DrMaximus
November 12th 2014


9957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sweet Jesus. Gonna give this a read tomorra. :3 Jac < 3

Kman418
November 12th 2014


11339 Comments


is this where i go to become ELITE

Digging: Xiu Xiu - Fabulous Muscles

Gwyn.
November 12th 2014


15322 Comments


No for that you must listen to J pop

ethos
November 12th 2014


1857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

HELLO

Nocturnalize
November 12th 2014


266 Comments


ugh I wish i could neg this



Digging: ERRA - Moments of Clarity

PappyMason
November 12th 2014


1401 Comments


Nice, a good read.
I find this album, aesthetically, really interesting. I don't think I've quite got to grips with it yet - I definitely need to listen to it some more.

Minor correction: at the end of the third paragraph 'with' should be 'will', where you write 'Impressions of Fetor with vary from listen to listen'.



Digging: Cocteau Twins - Victorialand

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2014


15213 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank you kind Sir

tommygun
November 12th 2014


25413 Comments


simmer jac

Phlegm
November 12th 2014


5578 Comments


chat

Digging: Raresh - Fabric 78

adr
November 12th 2014


3528 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fuck this has a review and it's sweet, good job Jac:3~

album is pretty immense, but i've always liked b-side more, i mean these fucking vocals dude.

Digging: Boris - Boris At Last -Feedbacker-

Keyblade
November 12th 2014


15421 Comments


Aww snap

Digging: Sofia Gubaidulina - Chamber Music With Double Bass

ExplosiveOranges
November 12th 2014


3884 Comments


A Jac 5?????? Holy shit. 'Grats on 60.

Digging: Millicent Waffles - Under Dark Blue Blanket

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2014


7127 Comments


You applying for staff in the new year Jackie boy?

JohnnyOnTheSpot
November 12th 2014


1900 Comments


sweet

Digging: Burstbot - Memory Imprints



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