Review Summary: cracks in the linoleum.
Frankly, I’m getting sick and tired of penning worn-out adjectives like “experimental”, “leftfield” and “forward thinking” onto Noer the Boy’s work, but time and time again the curious producer’s take on maniacal bass music leaves me little choice. Since releasing his proper breakout, SPILLEDNOISE
, on DJ Shadow’s Liquid Amber imprint back in 2016, the Portland resident has been releasing tracks at a steady pace, appearing on a myriad of compilations while managing to squeeze a stellar debut LP into the mix as well. Needless to say he’s a hard working musician, but where many producers would begin to fizzle out of fresh ideas, Noer just seems to get clankier, more sinister and proficient at his craft with each passing year. Ganzfeld
is a true testament to that statement.
NOISIA’s Division Recordings is a hotbed for experimental electronic music orbiting the spheres of halftime, so hosting Noer the Boy’s most recent solo EP never seemed like a far fetched idea. With that said, I doubt anyone could have predicted Ganzfeld
would be this ballsy. “Torch” melts the thermostat off the wall without hesitation, opening the affair in a brutally cheeky fashion with huge bricks of distorted bass hissing through the cracked linoleum beneath you. “Nosferatu’s Castle” and “Zaroff” keep a firm grip on this skewed aesthetic but inject a strong sense of grandiose into the fold, with the latter plucking on melodic vibes akin to EPROM's "Drone Warfare". BPM’s be damned, this guy shreds the map of electronic music and blazes his own trail, with the last three tracks warping both time and space in brazen fashion. Those monolithic drops on “Tour” plant a vibrant flag on the album’s peak, and the bumpy ride to the finish line is hosted by a zesty pair of synapse-cooking experiments in musical psychopharmacology. It’s a wild ride from front to back for sure, but Ganzfeld
is arguably Noer's most spacious affair to date, with much of the action happening in the sub bass frequencies as things boil upwards from a tumultuous abyss of broken sine waves. This exploration of negative space affords him a lot of maneuverability, and does well to highlight focal points like the breezy bird chirps on "Zaroff" or the brilliantly hideous contrast between visceral synth pads and nightmarish lounge jazz on the epic closer “Vertigo Train”. It all comes together to solidify the fact he's always boasted a sound more jagged and genre defying than most of his contemporaries, but this most recent outing really underscores a stronger focus on fine-tuning the elements of palatability and ruggedness. The result is one of Noer the Boy’s most musically mature releases, and through its heady 19-minute runtime, this excursion into the outermost boundaries of bass music itself stands as a another fun, quirky and fascinating addition to his catalogue.