All Those Born Must Die
Helen Scarsdale Agency
The investigative sound artist Jeff Surak is quick to point out that this title should not be interpreted in a negative sense. Merely a neutral observation. In fact, themes of detached inquest about disintegration have been quite welcome here at The Helen Scarsdale Agency. Surak has been a fixture within the experimental community for many years, curating the Sonic Circuits festival, programming for RhizomeDC, and running his own Zeromoon label. His own work manifests non-linear narratives through lo-fi techniques and archaic technologies. For All Those Born Must Die, we are introduced to a quarrelsome transmission of distorted sine waves that rapidly descends and crashes into a splatter of retrograde drum programming, think Dome 3 or those highly fetishized synth work-outs from Vanity Records. Rhythms gallop surge forward amongst seering blast of mid-range white noise. This is an electronic album of analogue synthesis. Yes, it very much is; but to these ears, the impetus is a Dada deconstruction on post-punk. Radiantly neon tones, klanging electric ululations, stabs of jagged arpeggio, and mercurial ambience slide and slip through these off-kilter, radioactively unstable tracks, all of which belies Surak’s sophisticated application of recursive melody and rhythm. Consider Conrad Schnitzler ‘80s constructs, Bruce Gilbert’s divergent experimentation, those Tolerance records on Vanity, and then, John Cage’s Imaginary Landscape for a proper amount of radiophonic patina. Together such would land somewhere close to Jeff Surak’s All Those Born Must Die. Mastered by Bob Bellerue.