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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Foxy Digitalis review of Tooth_Eye / Little Mack / Gickstep / Stiverson / Dental Work, “Great Lakes Mafia Breaks Vol. 1″

Tooth_Eye / Little Mack / Gickstep / Stiverson / Dental Work, “Great Lakes Mafia Breaks Vol. 1″ split CD-r

February 16, 2012 By Paul Simpson

"Calling a release a 5-way split instead of a compilation might sound a little extreme, but Placenta Recordings is nothing if not extreme. The Traverse City, Michigan-based label was established in 2005 by Jay Watson (AKA Dental Work), and is well over 150 releases by now. Judging by the upcoming releases schedule of both the label and Dental Work himself, the man simply never sleeps. Even though extremely prolific noise/experimental labels are a dime a terabyte these days, Placenta isn’t just a blogspot and a huge amount of server space. A dozen or so of the label’s releases (including the Placenta Family Tree compilation series) are available for free download on, but most of the label’s releases are CD-Rs which come in DVD-sized amaray cases, with collage-style artwork by Watson, usually involving porn and/or various pop culture detritus. The label is planning on releasing music in many different formats this year, including CD, vinyl, flexidisc, cassette, and DVD, by artists including Acid Mothers Temple, Caroliner, Bubblegum Octopus, Rank Sinatra, Toecutter, and hundreds more.

This disc starts off with 6 short tracks of harsh breakcore by Tooth_Eye, although they all sound pretty similar and basically function as a single (excellent) track. The first of these is a remix of desktop noisecore artist RedSK, who is even more obscenely prolific than Dental Work and runs Trashfuck Records, an equally prolific label, even more so considering their netlabel counterpart. After Tooth_eye comes practically an album’s worth of psychedelic doom-noise from Little Mack. “Acid Well” starts with theremin, clattering electronics, submerged voices, and buried metal drumming, rising to glitched out chaos only to be matched by a relaxing Casio drone. “Bring On The Transformers” opens with a sample of a guy in favor of the campaign to built a statue of Robocop in Detroit, who additionally suggests that the Transformers are worthy of such treatment as well. The track starts as a multilayered collage of scrambled police radio transmissions and some pinball machine-like sounds, then gets beat up by some dilapidated breakbeats, before spacing out for a long time. “Magnatyte” is some buzzy, wavy Kaoss noise, and “What’s Buzzin” is harsh chaotic noise with some crushed beats buried underneath.

Gickstep is up next, and the first track (“Ambient Creepstep”) starts out slow and doomy, before turning into an unremarkable dubstep track. It’s not bad, I’ve just heard way too much music that sounds like it lately. However, the next couple Gickstep tracks are lo-bit Amigacore similar to artists like Unibomber and Dispyz, and are quite impressive. “History Class” is another slow, doomy track, but it remains sparse and doesn’t go for bass terror, retaining its eeriness. Then “Maoka” starts slow, mysterious and static-y, and by the time the dubstep beat kicks in, it resembles a lo-fi version of a track Distance would’ve put out 5 years ago. After these come two tracks from Stiverson, “Knots” being a more straightahead hardcore jungle track, and “Samck” being a slower, creepier breakcore track. Dental Work finishes up the disc with “380 Under The Couch (Top 40 Mix)”, a dizzying 11 minutes of radio static (pretty sure Katy Perry pops up for a split second in the intro), smeared trash-beats and harsh noise. It’s definitely not just a straightforward “turn all the pedals up all the way” wall-of-noise track, there’s lots of intense layering, harsh deliberate vocal cut-ins, and lots of pop radio, as the title suggests. Instead of a harsh, sour, bleak noise assault it feels more like being electrocuted with a bombardment of cupcakes."

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