CD-R, self-released, 2007
Adam Duckworth, a.k.a. Freeze Etch, has impeccable taste in packaging. The direct result of this is that the limited print of “Pejorative” is a particularly beautifully presented selection of eight innovatively named tracks totaling nearly forty minutes which could be better spent listening to something else.
It’s not that Freeze Etch is boring or even dislikable – it’s just too bland and uninspired to grasp attention, let alone form any kind of lasting impression. Not even the inclusion of the semi-coherent mumblings of cyberpunk surrealist/alternative electronica golden boy Kenji Siratori on “Industrial Boy” manages to rescue this album from mediocrity.
Whereas other dark ambient releases deliver to one’s soul the ominous equivalent of gathering storm clouds, Freeze Etch supplies one with a light drizzle after a mild afternoon – no excitement, no buildup, no climax; just insipid drones and vapid snatches of electronic chatter, interspersed with mildly amusing (and lightly filtered) doomsday prophecies. Purgatory’s own unique take on elevator Muzak…
Which is in the end a great pity: songs with titles like “Hull Breach” and “Rebreather” conjure memories of childhood science fiction like “Alien” and “The Abyss,” along with their accompanying chills, but the music just fails to live up to this lofty ideal. Coupled with the awesome (and no doubt pricey) packaging, “Pejorative” ends up as nothing more than a broken promise – albeit one that looks really good. It could almost be likened to dating someone that is beautiful but dumb as bricks: your friends may show great interest in the exterior aspects, but there’s zero intellectual stimulation involved.
— David vander Merwe