Messidor is the fourth album from the UK's Aufgehoben, who record unformed improvised sounds and then, over a period of time, mix and mutate them into a not immediately identifiable form of raw instrumental rock noise. It is the discordant and hostile sound of mechanical beasts locked in a cage against their will via incredible levels of distortion, clattering percussion and a wide spectrum of overtones produced by scraped and scratched guitar strings. In time a sense of structure is revealed and the musicality of Messidor unfolds a la New Directions Unit, Throbbing Gristle, This Heat, and post-Nite Flights Scott Walker.
"Khora" is the fifth full length album by Aufgehoben. Since the release of their previous album Messidor the group have relaxed some of the enforcement their axioms of anonymity by allowing their names to be known, photos taken and even playing a few well received live shows.While Messidor may have been mellower or "less rock" the progression through "Khora" leads on to believe that "full on rock" may be in the cards for this group who have seemingly removed the elbow patches from their jackets and have rolled up their sleeves for good.
The album begins with three short pieces which are sonic examples of texture meeting metal-like a djinn trapped in molten gold attempting to burst free from his cage but only able to express rage via an infinity of temporary sculpture ranging from the nightmares of the Mütter museum to futuristic expressions of nature not yet captured by a conscious eye. The final track is 28 minutes of pure glory that will surely become one of noise rock's classics. Massively blown out and beautifully recorded Jederfursich lays down twin mirrors side by side as a model of infinity is allowed to metamorphosize via sounds that recall the energy of existence the sands of time itself.
The follow-up to 2008’s Khora, Fragments Of The Marble Plan adds a slightly more electronic carapace to Aufgehoben’s cataclysmic noise-rock foundation. The prevailing sound here evokes the Mego label before it added “Editions” to its name and became enamored of American guitar mavericks, back when it purveyed cyclotronic, abstract electronic music that had the centrifugal force of an irrefutable PhD thesis.
Such is the overwhelming power of Aufgehoben on this, the British group’s sixth album, that even exposure to the MP3s of its songs makes one relieved to have health insurance. Music this apocalyptic has few peers, but some approximate touchstones might be the most radically “out” and knotty moments of Norwegian post-jazz ensemble Supersilent, This Heat after realizing that Brise-Glace didn’t pay them a penny in royalties, or Farmers Manual after extensive immersion in Mainliner’s back catalog. Fragments Of The Marble Plan is a terrifying force of nature, a Rube Goldberg machine run amok, the sound of civilization atomizing into controlled chaos. It’s so cold, it’s hellish. Although Aufgehoben feel your need for catharsis, they convince you that being ready to jump out of your skin is the new normal.
If Aufgehoben dealt in clichés (which they don’t), we would say that they take no prisoners on Fragments Of The Marble Plan. This music is war—with all of the fascinating horrors and grisly casualties inherent in that endeavor. Get a helmet.