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Robochanman: Struggledriver

You should turn down the volume before hitting the play button for this one. RoboChanMan’s sonic attack begins immediately and with tremendous force, sparing no one, humans or speakers. Yet, somehow, it sounds flat, one-dimensional. Aural saturation would have been stronger with more bass or a more stereophonic mix perhaps. In any case, this noise terrorist did not record Strugglediver to please: these five crude, harsh, ear-splitting pieces will push your dedication to the limits. RoboChanMan uses handmade electronics, probably some guitar too, and his voice, although one must listen closely to distinguish his distorted screams from the other layers of noise. Half of the listener’s pleasure is hearing the piece ends (not a negative comment!) — on headphones, the couple seconds of silence take a blinding void-like quality. Sadly, when the third track begins the reaction becomes “Here we go again.” That’s because there is little variety on Strugglediver, at least at first glance. Closer inspection reveals a potent use of varying textures, but it all lacks the depth of Merzbow. The one distinguishing element would be the voice, a tortured Keiji Haino-like lament. One gets a good taste of it on “Spastic Death,” but otherwise it remains buried in the mix. This last piece is the best one on the album, it goes beyond the idea of a wall of sound to offer puzzling metal-twisting textures and a warped abrupt finale. Fran├žois Couture

Return to devastation, Japanese noise style! Robochanman is extreme japanoise in the old style. The torrential grind of Merzbow filtered through Masonna’s guts. Tracks like ‘Cyclops Troop’ and ‘Subculture Snob Eat Shit’ are great. It’s been so long since I’ve heard a new release of truly old-school japanoise that i had to brush up on the two methods i have for enjoying this sort of things: A. Very loud o blow out the mental obstructions. B. Very low, literally a background noise that has the odd effect of soothing me. Has odd hand drawings and scraps inside. Manifold Records Website

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