Coin Gutter
Truth Lifting Its Head Above Scandals
Vanity Records
2001
B

it starts with a cleansing. A single tone, deepening into a larger mess of static; enveloping everything around it, revealing snippets of tones, snippets of rhythm, snippets of sense. Then, all of a sudden, a single bass note rises up from the mess to rise above the chaos and, as the chaos did, become the predominant sound. Floating above it and underneath it are complements to the bass, adding a fuller and broad feel to the sound. There is a sense of calm, after the storm, but also of impending doom. The notes that remain are pensive, waiting, as if in a holding pattern; until they fade out, leaving us with silence, for a few moments, only to have it shattered by the reappearance of the same notes again. A rhythm appears, panning between the two sides achieving an equilibrium. We're safe, for now, but for how long? No answer is given, but the beats start to increase in frequency and they start to get louder. Something resembling sonar takes over for the beats. There is a rustling underneath; something is restless, unknown transmissions float at the edge of the consciousness. A dripping water pipe increases in loudness as you get closer and closer to it. It suddenly disappears, the bass beat and industrial sounds of metal upon metal continue unabated. There is a feeling of claustrophobia that pervades as a swath of air passes by and the only thing left around you is random clicks, almost too soft to hear. They seem to take no pattern, leaving you with no definable sense of security and soon they are overtaken screeching noises. These noises never truly leave, remaining at the periphery of the song in some form or another. Finally among the amorphous soundscape construction, a definite beat emerges. It sounds similar to Massive Attack's 'Teardrop' beat, but there is something just not quite right about it.


And that's the feeling you get listening to Coin Gutter's Truth Lifting Its Head Above Scandals. There is something not quite right about the whole thing. A feeling of unease, as though there is something always going on below the surface of the outward music is almost palpable. Mood and emotion are paid attention to with great detail, which is one of the most common complaints with the academic compositions of other glitch composers such as Jan Jelinek and Oval.


While Oval leaves the listener hollow and in search of the meaning behind the works that he has created, Coin Gutter plays on both levels- instinctual and mental. You feel creepy listening to this sort of thing, as though something is sneaking up behind you and you also want to know how it was created. This is when the most successful glitch music is made, when it can inspire awe and emotion from the listener. Frequently, however, the only emotion that is drawn from listening to most of this genre is boredom. The last thing on my mind while listening to Coin Gutter, however, is where I'm going for lunch. It's an enveloping listen from the opening static burst, it demands attention and keeps it.


Perhaps best suited as music for a movie soundtrack set in the future, this release takes its name from the past. In 1649 Gerrard Winstanly produced a pamphlet under the same name. An anarchist before there was such a thing, Winstanly has the same sort of anonymity that Coin Gutter is currently enjoying right now, however, with a record contract from the more popular IDM label more people may have placed this release on their top lists of 2001.


Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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