Chuck Bettis - Sonic Sigils EP
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Chuck Bettis
Sonic Sigils EP

Upon hearing the first track on this release (entitled "Night On Fire"), a thought ran through my head that it has simply become too easy for people to release music. It wasn't meant as a slam on Bettis in particular, but his extreme opening blast of digitally filtered noise hit my 'I just want to cook some dinner' ears in the right way that it made me both happy and frustrated that there's so much music out there.

It made me happy because I know that the digital prickles on Sonic Sigils will no doubt appeal to someone and because of the spread of the internet and small labels, they might just be able to find it. It made me frustrated because it adds to the clutter. As someone with a large collection, I'm constantly trying to find great things and there's a lot of stuff that simply gets jettisoned. Sonic Sigils is 7 tracks of pretty extreme digital fuckery that will probably only appeal to those with an ear for the hardcore Mego label soundscapes (think Florian Hecker) or noise-crunchers like Merzbow. The first four tracks pour out of the speakers like metal splinters from a hacksawed I-beam and it's only on the latter tracks of the album that the harshness somewhat subsides and some fairly unique things emerge.

The longest track on the album, "Faith Is Fear" is one of those tracks, and the interlaced squiggling electronics on it gallop along and help make the short release (a interestingly-packaged 3" CD that contains seven songs and just under twenty minutes of music) something less than a migraine inducer. Considering it was recorded live, the scattershod nature of the disc can be considered, but this is still to be approached with caution. Scarcelight has put out some very neat stuff (including work by Accelera Deck and Birchville Cat Motel), but this one hurts (masochists take note).

rating: 3.510
Aaron Coleman 2004-12-21 00:00:00