dw004 - ANGELswing - Pennies On The Eyes Of Plastic

Sublevel 203 - Laura B. (c) 2003
Dark ambient noise and rhythmic chaos build a feeling of madness in this ANGELswing release, Pennies on the Eyes of Plastic. The album is unusually structured, consisting of 10 tracks, three parts and ten sub-sections, though I seem to be a bit confused as it seems my CD-Rom has some issues with some of the tracks on this disc. The first time I put it in, only 8 tracks were picked up, causing me to think the cover was incorrect. The tracks that vanished were simply skipped over. Several listens in a row the disc had done this. Then, once my review was near completion, I put the CD in again, and suddenly two more tracks and over twenty minutes worth of music reappeared. Scratching my head, I had to go through everything all over again.

Part I: The Absinthe of Divinity

Beginning the album with a piece of dark ambient noise titled "Like Vultures At A Funeral", a deeply disturbing atmosphere is set. It builds threateningly, but ever so gradually, to a point of combustion that quiets only briefly, building an even sharper, more fearsome tension. The quiet, underlying rhythm builds momentum as the chaos unfolds. As the track reaches its conclusion, it halts suddenly, leaving an air of anxiety behind.

The following track, "Blood Is Dust", is laden with plunky sounds and soft rhythmic noise. Idling along mechanically, other strange tidbits present themselves in a near haunting manner- a small piece of piano, the clicks and ticks of something, or perhaps someone, down some echoing corridor.

"A Hollow Shell Of My Former Self" takes a bolder approach, using stronger sounds, vocal samples and electronic noise to build a stronger feeling of tension in an off-kilter reality. The shifting textures scratch about with occasional piano and music box melody running beneath. There even lies a subtle science fiction quality to the piece.

A peculiar and vivid quality has formed by this point. A sensation of fear, glints of memory, a rising sense of confusion are wholly present. Mental images of childhood meld with a darkened view of the present; twisted machinery mix with unassuming hums of normalcy.

Part II: Dance Like Puppet Zombies

Part two starts easily enough with warm melody moving softly along as a distant sound whirrs like a coming storm. "Pennies On The Eyes Of Plastic" seems to change the previous uneasiness into a feeling of mystery shrouded in shadow. The track exits with a feeling of calm left behind.

"Darkness Spreads Like Rust" creeps slowly along, adding sounds gradually- a sound like wind, a chilly and vaguely melodious atmosphere, barely there textures, breath. New textures are introduced, changing and unfolding, growing and shrinking back in a constant motion.

"Vastator", the shortest of tracks on Pennies On The Eyes Of Plastic, idles along through a large portion of the piece, later introducing tuneful plunks. It doesn't really seem to accomplish much, but give me thoughts of monotony.

Part III: Caskets In A River of Filth

Noisy, buzzing, louder sounds swim about in "Angels That Vomit Rainbows". Synthetic melody is present in its usually odd manner, a simple rhythm ticks away quietly. It floats away quietly into the next piece, "I Become a Ghost Again".

By the time "I Become A Ghost Again" really has a chance to begin, I start to feel drowsy and tired of the twisty roads the disc is taking. I get dangerously close to losing interest. Hums. Buzzing. Eardrum twisting sci-fi effects. I yawn.

"Asleep In The Chest Cavity Of The Depraved" begins loudly, and gets louder. The CD slaps me in the face and says to wake up. New sounds are introduced, metallics, perhaps a guitar whining, sounds reminiscent of traffic driving by. It continues to swell until I feel nearly overwhelmed and disoriented.

"Wings Torn From The Spine (Fade To Black Noise)" is a monster of a track, playing a total length of more than 25 minutes. An insane amount of sounds are presented, some already familiar from the previous tracks, and the result is quite dizzying. Loud, glitchy tidbits, melodies, rhythms and a host of other things I couldn't quite describe. A shocking 911 call is found here as well- a mother has tried to kill her children, one of which she succeeded- a 6 year old boy. The call ends, the melody plays, the reality sets in that this woman isn't at all sorry for what she's done. No sorrow, this electronic, loud, angry, piercing noise screams- tearing through the air- then dead silence for several minutes. An airy melody sets in again, a rolling wave of sound, an unintelligible voice, another, a deep hum floats by. It begins to fade away, but comes back with a threatening intensity. All of the sappy, floaty qualities are gone. Now, the tension has returned, the voices more deeply buried, the storm has returned. The track fades away once again to nothingness. The silence seems to final.

What am I left with at the disc's end? Stunned silence perhaps. Then, a creeping sensation overcomes me as the last hour begins to make sense in a bizarre way. Through strangely mundane sounds and those that bring to mind a past one might choose to forget, a confused and unbalanced sensation sets in toward the disc's end. Then, one horrific act sends it all spiraling down to an unforgettable finale.

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