'll be honest: after so many weeks lolling at the edge of the pool, eating dates and blood-puddings, listening to decadent Japanese music and smoking hibiscus-flower cigarettes, it's hard for me to wrap my head back around a slice of modern electronic music. The first couple of times I spun this on my hi-fi, the 24-bit sine waves and jittery, Red Bull-esque percussion programming were jarring and disorienting. I had an attack of the vapors and my slaves had to revive me with smelling salts.
But repeat listens reveal something interesting under the surface of Salmataxia. Melody is not on the menu. It will not be served tonight. Instead we are offered hard, brittle, boiled and bland vegetarian tones. Many have had their bitrates reduced to incoherence. Occasionally a VST effect will process a sound down to its basic common denominator.
So the pitched sounds emerge, and loop, in the background. One has the feeling that many of the musical motions here are generated by algorithimic composition or good old fashioned randomness. I am thinking specifically of track 2, the horribly titled Where For Art, and track 3, Pan_ic. Hey Syndrone: leave the pretentious semantic acrobatics to those of us in the music criticism industry. If you take that away from us, what do we have left? Answer: nothing but dextromethorphan hangovers and dusty old copies of James Carey's Communication as Culture.
Dextromethorphan is definitely a great drug to use while listening to this album. You are not required to think logically here. In fact you'll probably be better equipped to pick up the tiny submerged sounds that are layered deep underneath the primary digital tones. I could hear human voices and reverb chambers at times, extremely low but nevertheless present.
Overall Syndrone has done an impressive job of ignoring the outside world on this release. He doesn't care that electronic artists are re-injecting pop composition into their tunes. He just wants metronomes, randomness, atonality, doubletime kick drums and clicks. Syndrone's particular forte seems to be compressed white noise sidechained to the percussion lines. And a few times, he drops a little bit of old school electronic idealism into the mix, with pads and vocoders. The more IDM changes, the more somebody wants to keep it the same.
Be careful—this music is forgettable. But like the hard drive errors it is most likely source-sampled from, there's a beauty to sound when it breaks down. It may not be important but its interesting.
Reviewed by: Francis Henville
Reviewed on: 2004-09-21