Friday, January 1, 2016

AARUM “1-6” C17 (OJC Recordings)




I like to think that I’m a sophisticated person, so I like my music to be rigid and uncompromising in its vision and execution. That’s why I, and you, if you believe in your heart of hearts that you’re as sophisticated as I am, prefer my rock and roll to be post punk in flavor. I mean seriously, I’m not kidding – I ONLY listen to post punk. If you think that limits me as a person, then you’re mistaken, and you’ll be punished when I rule over you.

So OK, maybe Aarum don’t strictly stay all stuffed-shirt on us, but I bet they dress in skinny clothes and wear ties at their shows. Doubt there’s a beard in the bunch. But hey, I’ve been wrong before (Stamford is not in Massachusetts!), so maybe they’re a looser group of dudes than their music choice lets on. And I’d still like it. Because let’s face it – post punk also gives you license to get all wiggly too, and in the 17 minutes of awesome on 1-6, Aarum makes me want to wiggle like a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man throughout most of it. That’s great news for the stick in my butt!

The song titles are numbered “1” through “6,” a convention that gives this tape its name. True to this minimal form, the LA five-piece lives in the low end of the EQ spectrum, featuring a lot of dirty bass and industrial-strength drum machine. The metronomic quality allows for plenty of head-nodding opportunity, and movement is definitely what these guys are going for here. Contrary to the hyperbolic shortsightedness I irresponsibly ascribed to myself in the opening paragraph, post punk can be fun, entertaining, and uplifting in spirit, three things that Aarum manages within a short time frame.

It moves by too quickly, and all of the songs are standouts, only one of them reaching past two minutes. Male vocals appear on most tracks, and a female vocal (sample?) also appears on one track, the excellent unnumbered one in the middle, which may only be on the MP3 version of the album. (Suckers!) Track “4” is also particularly badass, sounding like a bass-end-only version of Moby’s remix of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s “Greyhound” on Experimental Remixes. Love that song!

For fans of A-Frames, Six Finger Satellite, and Suicide, with the caveat that Aarum is a bit more lo-fi (not a bad thing), as well as Detonic Recordings out of Australia – any of you familiar with them? Aarum would fit right in on that roster. Check em out, along with the rest of the OJC stable, because I’m glad I’ve stumbled across them.




--Ryan Masteller

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