Abstract by name, abstract by nature. They Ate Isengard is an ambitious project by experimental musician and Gothenburg resident Harvey Parker, who produces disjointed electronica in a kaleidoscopic miasma of screamed vocals, glitch synths and tumultuous moments of frenetic blastbeats, all of which are assembled within the context of some thoroughly rough-hewn lo-fi production. It’s every bit as discombobulating as it sounds and with little conventional melody or even the briefest of grooves to latch on to, Abstract Corn Cloud is a sufficiently challenging listen.
Oftentimes, it comes across as the goth-tinged dance-metal of Combichrist put through an industrial blender and reassembled by the twitching hands of a paranoid schizophrenic, utterly devoid of much needed medication. Tracks such as ‘Laudanum’ consist of seemingly disparate elements colliding and sparring with each other, only occasionally resembling what could be commonly constituted as a ‘song’. It’s cybergrind in cahoots with fairground organs, effervescent synthesizers and columns of glaring white noise, all uneasily co-existing in consistent and unceasing abrasion and attempting to redefine the notion of what a song should be. With copious elements vying for attention, it fractures the consciousness through a searing Totalism, filling every space with opposing elements. For the most part, it’s nothing short of an aural maelstrom of violent twitches and throat-tearing vocals that have been further distorted beyond all recognition. Perhaps the most conventional track is the beat-heavy ‘When The Moon Tilted Backwards’ which manages to refrain from delving too far into the abstract and instead maintains a vaguely coherent shape throughout its three minutes. Emphasizing processed beats, it almost resembles an extremely experimental work of contemporary hip hop in the vein of LA noise-rap trio Clipping minus any notion of languid flow.
The ambition and sheer wealth of ideas is irrevocably commendable and the project is smothered with a stringent audacity most musicians would rather shy away from. Yet, the nature of the tracks as overwhelming in their disparity and furore renders Abstract Corn Cloud as nigh on unlistenable to but a few avant-garde and experimental aficionados. Despite the valiant efforts of Harvey Parker, it seems a veritable long-shot that this brand of avant-garde screamo oddity will penetrate much further beyond the role of niche blogspot curiosity.
2 out of 5 high fives!