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19 December 2014

Nebulo: Akzidens (Stomoxine)

French composer Thomas Pujols’s latest as Nebulo is his first on the Stomoxine label, and it’s the first one I’ve heard from him. Over the span of its thirteen tracks, Pujols’s only restriction on his explorations musically was to limit all sounds to those found previously recorded on cassettes. Those who purchase a physical copy on Bandcamp will get it on cassette: “a cassette of cassettes.” Aside from a somewhat lo-fi sensibility that comes with the territory, there is no other real unifying thread here — and this is not a complaint, because the wide variety of sounds on Akzidens is totally delightful. Its short pieces often vacillate wildly, offering up lo-fi soundscapes like the bleating, disembodied horns of “Canon” (reminding me of some of Coil’s more rambunctious late 80s material) or more physical throbs such as the cacophonous “Cru” or the dusty tribal groove of “Gove Me Live.” Only occasionally do tracks exceed much beyond the three-minute mark, something I’d consider a strength of Akzidens, allowing its myriad personalities to reveal themselves through a twisting and turning sequence of sounds.

It’s by virtue of these wild juxtapositions that Akzidens manages to put a smile on my face so routinely, navigating swiftly from the murky haze of a track like “Bluff Mirage” into the disjointed, distorted funk of “Dynasty Beef,” recalling the off-kilter sounds of Smith N’ Hack. There is a jubilance that comes through over repeat listens that makes the album infectious in spirit as well as its oddball sonic palette. “La Mort Du Puzzle” is a mangled, lo-fi distortion of sounds that is as abrasive as it is inspiring, while “Tame” percolates with the same hard-edged arp that has given Oneohtrix Point Never’s recent albums a vaguely MIDI-music flavor. Fans of the more lo-fi side of things on Hospital Productions or NNA Tapes ought to look into Nebulo’s music here, splitting the difference between otherworldly oddness and humble DIY crudeness.

Buy it: Bandcamp

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