aniel Menche, an avid and eclectic muso who finds interest in Bushido, Greek city-states, “somatic sounds,” and that cerise hued fluid necessary to all living beings—blood, wants to change the popular take on “noise.” Forget what you’ve heard about Masami Akita, Aube, Koji Tano (RIP), or Maso Yamazaki; this type of music—while at times ham handedly brutal—is often as dangerously confectionary as Monica Bellucci cloaked in corn syrup.
The preternaturally prolific Menche, who’s released four full-lengths this year, with three more slated for fall, is most comfortable straddling the demarcation between beauty and terror, working large scale rhythmic canvases into mud pits of electronically altered pigment. For every egghead’s “Chthonian” delineation, there is base punkness to Menche’s music: The sound practically begs for Derridean obfuscation, but in essence is only a street fightin’ man who takes no truck with ivory towerese.
Flaming Tongues challenges one’s conceptual hardware, all while busting a gut over your tendencies to want to flesh out the abstract. Where systolic and diastolic heart failures manifest themselves in Tongue’s first track, it’s easier to hear the din as a drum pad battle between ten Ritalin liberated adolescents who’re trying to recreate Alex Van Halen’s percussive opening to “Hot for Teacher.” Singular tone yawns behind the atonal ping-ponging, vibrating like a phalanx of shruti boxes. Menche works the percussion into flashes of static white light, allowing the drone to set over the top like a layer of ghee over freshly baked Naan. Then it’s gone. Silence.
Track two (all five pieces are untitled) takes the aboriginal out of Aphex Twin’s “Didgeridoo,” wrapping katydid thigh-rub around trigonometric tracks. Riding out this marriage is akin to staying put on a Eurorail chassis’ underbelly. Elements of the structure walk to the forefront, and quickly recede; one’s left with the initial Tuvan throat chortle, with all anthropomorphic attributes eschewed.
Menche employs similar method for the remaining music, recycling some sonics along the way. Track five uses the locomotive figure of track two, isolating it till it sounds not so much like a coal car, but a rabid badger being used as a bullroarer. Unlike the more “militant” noise artists, Menche’s take attracts more than it provokes; despite one’s tendency to find figure in the abstract, repeated listens erase this vice, removing Kant’s active passivity of reception from the grad student smoke break and sneaking it into the deceptively simple act of “listening.” Don’t think; just hear.