Originally appeared at the Tentacles e-zine


Unbelievable. This is by far the best record I've heard all year. In an industry that includes everything from Covenant to Pan Sonic to Coil to Aqua, Noiseotica is the freshest, cleanest, and most interesting electronic masterpiece to hit the scene in recent memory. Released on New York's Harsh House label, Skyline is definitely something worth looking into.

Let's start at the beginning. Skyline is four members: Skyking, DJ-Z, VO, and JB. Interesting monikers, sure, but the experience doesn't stop there. The creation process, as explained on their promo sheets, begins with JB who starts up some "grooves" while the others follow suit with improvised "sonic calisthenics." What? Exactly. Using guitar, vinyl, and other electro-induced manipulations, Skyline's improv sounds like a cross between a Zorn-produced Tzadik release and a five a.m. rave wind-down.  Noiseotica begins with a grabbing, but chillin' (as they say), house influenced track called "ABC" that keeps you and prepares you for the monster of the album, track two, "Razorbarbreakfast." An amazing track full of loops, twiddles, and samples that sound as though they come straight from The Tear Garden's first record, this track eases into a groove that lasts seventeen minutes. The repetition of a handful of vocal samples, the laid-back funky beats, and the low drone make this the album's highlight, but also make it an apt entrance to the rest of Skyline's masterpiece.

"Firechiefrabbit" picks up where "Razorbarbreakfast" left off, conceptually at least. Fourteen minutes of sampling frenzy, this time with the eerieness of Skinny Puppy and the record-scratching of a drunk DJ Coldcut. The album doesn't live down this high standards once: "Hardgrove" is an African drumming styled number, while the two-minute "Skyline" is full of intense hooks that grab you and leave you wondering what the hell happened. The album ends on an upbeat note, totally reminding me of some live bootleg stuff I have from Puppy, but also sounding a lot like very experimental Mentallo meets Wave Workers Foundation with politically motivated samples-and base-a la Snog. But it doesn't end like some records do-it closes. It really has a sense of craftsmanship, as if it should be finished at that point.

Produced by band member JB and algorithm-guitar-sonic manipulator Damian Catera (who just released his new album Process, Object, Intuition on Harsh House and who also finished touring with KK Null last year), Noiseotica is simply worth owning. Whether you like some light grooves to warm up (or cool down) a dance, or if you like falling asleep to ambient sounds, Skyline's improv will catch your ear. You can order a copy from the Harsh House website at www.harshhouse.com or search for Skyline on Amazon.com. 10/10.

-Yolk (28/04/2000)

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