The debut EP from a hive mind of clipping voices is audaciously massive, defined by a total disregard for the fidelity of their signals. Low volume is advised.
Fax Gang have discovered the auditory equivalent of sandpaper on their project “FxG3000”. Nearly every second of the project is a concentrated beam, purposefully scarred by downsampling and bitcrushing, compressed. The waves flood the listeners ear, making any pair of headphones noise cancelling, and raze the internals. Samples and vocalists merge, smashed together by unmistakably and obnoxiously digital processing. At the end of the fourth track, “Centrifuge”, notes hop sluggishly between two tones as the floor and ceiling collapse, and the audience is enveloped in a corrupted wall of sound. It is absolutely breathtaking, and despite the group threatening to blow any set of speakers or eardrums it’s difficult to loosen the grasp this EP exacts. Fax Gang have essentially taken a brief look at trance, pop-trap, and Yellow Swans’ “Going Places”, and thought of a way to fill in the milliseconds of levity that survived the three merging. Were this released at the time of the loudness war it might’ve been considered a WMD.
There’s genuine beauty in the brazen apocalypse of “FxG3000”. The stuttery, open sample of “Breathe2 (In/Out)” gives way to a sidechained pulse. PK Shellboy sings atop this liberating melody with unintelligible swagger, with tensions offering hope rather than anxiety. The utopian simulacrum explodes in the song’s second half as Shellboy ascends higher and higher – but cracks and stammers, along with the persistent bitcrush cloak, remind the listener of its impossibility. The dream presented is joyous for as long as it lasts. Blacklight produces “Breathe2”, as well as the following track “Jailbroken”, and has more fun on the latter; the mix is opened up slightly to let some air flow between the still slightly distorted components. These two songs evoke a labyrinth of neon and LEDs, a world of unending artificiality.
“Feel the whiplash, feel like JK Simmons” is the best one-liner from “FxG3000” that wouldn’t require an advanced AI to decode. The line comes from Shellboy on “Soaked”, a repetitive chant that fails to push forward after the breakneck speed of the prior tracks. “Centrifuge” picks up the pace a little, returning to an oceanic roar and letting the essence of a bouncing trap beat bleed through the filters. Closing track “Jeopardy” is Fax Gang’s most ridiculous statement. A fake-out opening of clean hi-hat rolls is overcome by flippant autotune singing and shrill sample loops. A lifetime of bass then erupts to balance the mix. As in “Breathe2”, the timbre is hopeful, almost awestruck, like something Merzbow might’ve cooked up had he gotten really into 100 gecs. “Jeopardy” is uncontainably loud – seriously, anyone listening to this should do it on very low volume – and ends with an insurmountable tsunami, devolving into omnivorous ambience. If the listener is not defeated by the EP then it self destructs, ending abruptly. It is as if it cannot be at peace without ensuring that something, anything, is consumed by its weaponized sound.
Listen to “FxG3000” here.
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– Jamie (@youngjade1216)