Mauthausen Orchestra "Where Are We Going?"
For the 2008 album Where Are We Going, Italian power electronics pioneer Pierpaolo Zoppo shortened his Mauthausen Orchestra name down to M.O., but the black pulsating electronics that he is known for are still in full force. It is more subdued than the tumorous throbbing horror of such classic Mauthausen Orchestra recordings as Necrofellatio and Murderuck, and dispenses with the explicit images of hardcore sex and extreme violence that made his early albums so notorious, but this is still an unsettling listen, it just takes it's time digging in under your skin. Released by Bloodlust! in a nice digipack package, Where Are We Going is a series of controlled, minimal meditations using extreme distortion that strive to capture the essence of a futile existence, and when I crank this to a sufficiently damaging volume level, it achieves a kind of sonic brain-death through a mixture of abrasive drones and blown-out melodious keyboard dissonance. I'm reminded of Bianchi's recent organ-drone experiments, but Zoppo goes for a much more abrasive aural assault. Such as on the opening track "Intimate Pulsation", which starts as a minimal noisy drone, but evolves into steady streams of over modulated digital distortion that build into a thick multi-layered roar of sputtering, crackling noise. "Sometime Happen" is a much more dramatic piece, a seething mass of ultra-distorted drones and keyboard clusters with extreme blown-out melodies and atonal notes forming within the wall of roiling distorted noise. The densely layered melodic chaos again reminds me not only of Bianchi, but also of some of Prurient's extreme synth pieces. More of these extremely distorted synthclusters form the nucleus of "When Suffering Becomes Show", but it later morphs into a swarming metallic buzz and fluttering keyboard notes, and ends up resembling an experimental electronic score for a 70s science fiction film. The shorter track "Confusion" is almost kosimiche with it's clusters of murky mid-range keys and whooshing tones bathed in speaker crackle, and "Not Allowable" creates a disorienting effect with phased organ drones that stretch endlessly outward. Altogether, these distorted synthdrones burn their way into your grey matter nicely.