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Album Review

MK9 – “Discography and Video 2001-2006” – [Neural Operations]

lexi glass   6/2/2021   A Library, CD

This CDR collects mid-career tracks from the discography of Michael Nine, formerly a fixture of the Bay Area noise underground and now based in Vancouver. This period from the early 2000s falls between his first incarnation as Death Squad, that terrorized audiences throughout the 1990s, and his more recent project MK9, whose live actions combine extreme audiovisual compositions and spoken word. The retrospective begins with 2002’s Self Medicated (T1-T5), with five tracks that oscillate between high pitched feedback and rumbling low end pulses, screaming pain and dull numbness, a sound palette that recurs through the later releases. Two tracks from the 2002 7HZ compilation (T6, T7, from the storied SF experimental venue/art space of that name, a collaboration with Randy H.Y. Yau and Scott Arford/Radiosonde), brings disembodied, ghostly voices into the fray. On 2002’s Why (T8-T10) the vocals become discernible, a direct patch into the darkest corners of the subconscious. The Empathy/Apathy 7” from 2003 foregrounds a disturbing phone message recording and a visceral spoken word imagery (T11-T12). The disc concludes with early works from the MK9 project, 2005’s excellent Resist (T13-T18) and three additional tracks of obscure or unreleased material (T18-20) Released on the artist’s label Neural Operations.

FCCS: T10, T11, T12, T16, T18

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