CD & free download, Bottle Imp Productions, 2008
After a meteoric rise in underground popularity, which opened the way for the release of considerable amounts of recorded material that many would easily classify as uninspired, mindless tripe, breakcore is considered by some to be a spent genre, while some of the most famous artists associated with it have shifted and began to incorporate other genres into their music. However, as with every musical subgenre in this situation, there are occasional gems showing that there is still validity to the genre. Blaerg’s second full-length release, “Dysphoric Sonorities,” is one such gem.
Though hardly a newcomer to the breakcore scene, Scott Wehman is something of a lesser-known artist, and undeservedly so, as this new release shows. While breakbeats and plunderphonics may be within everyone’s reach, it takes talent, musical knowledge and imagination to come up with convincing and engaging compositions such as those presented in “Dysphoric Sonorities.” Blaerg effectively went beyond the breakcore paradigms of ‘faster-harder-louder’ and insane chaos, creating a truly captivating album consisting of an interesting assortment of intelligent and methodical compositions with definite groove. Also, despite its title and the occasional harsher track, it is actually a rather laidback album, bound to appeal to more than just the breakcore enthusiasts.
Opening with the relatively insane dance-friendly “Profane Esoterica” and closing with the more cinematic ambient piece “Titanium Cicada,” “Dysphoric Sonorities” takes the listener on a pleasant ride through the artist’s musical background and knowledge. From the hints of metal percussion and acoustic guitar in “Thrice Vexed” and the tribal and ethnic-influenced pieces (like “Crepuscular Harlotry”), to reminiscences of 70s and 80s TV series in “Hermaphrodite Android’s Cumshot Infinity” (hands-down the highlight of the album for me) and the playfulness of “Earth Hurdles,” each track builds up as a unique entity and presents a different facet of Blaerg’s music. Ultimately, Wehman comes across as a talented and knowledgeable musician, one capable of effortlessly incorporating disparate influences into his compositions and giving them a high degree of coherence (both as isolated tracks and as a whole album) without resorting to cheap ploys to cheat the listener, or coming up with an album that is a mixed bag.
Interestingly (and in a nice marketing move), in addition to being available in CD format, “Dysphoric Sonorities” is also as a free download with printable artwork. Check it out and, if you like it, purchase the real thing for better sound quality. It’s definitely worth it.
— Miguel de Sousa