ROM B: “Incomplete Disco” c74 (self-released)

ROM B is the dark techno identity of Virginian Billy Brett, here bringing together three of his albums, “My Kind of Country”, “Business As Usual”, and “ROM B” into an incomplete discography (hence the title) on one really long tape. With pounding bass beats, synth stabs, and generally violent lyrics sung in a weird post-industrial nasal style somewhere between Swans and Aphex Twin, you can tell there’s a cool sense of sadism behind the knobs, a serious microphone mangler. These 36 tracks (all recorded within the last year and a half) definitely give you a full idea of what this music is about, almost to the point of beating you over the head with it, like a double-length greatest hits. The electronics are pretty active and powerful, my favorite being an extra long instrumental song on side two, but the singing can be difficult to attach to throughout, the “scary” sometimes ranging on silly due to the production (or lack thereof as it winds down). It’s most effective when smothered with heavy delay, giving it less of a “I’m talking right at you” feel and allowing the brevity of the lyrics a little more breathing room. I think if this tape were cut in half I would enjoy it a lot more, it’s currently suffering from what I call “Thanksgiving syndrome”, or putting out every song all of the time, considering them as having universal quality instead of, as they say, “killing your babies”. Still, there’s always something to be said for prolificacy and boldness, and there’s definitely plenty of that within.

Edition of 25 on opaque, orange tapes with color copy insert.