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Snareburst – Alpha Demo

Snareburst - Alpha Demo

CD, Intolerance Records, 2009

The very word “snareburst” tells you a fair amount about this outfit. The Aphex Twin-like rattle of snare drums is the predominant characteristic of the band’s debut release, “Alpha Demo”. Not that the comparison is unfavourable, by any means – for a pair of live musicians (please note, no turntables or computers used; what you hear is pure, unedited electronic instrumentation) only beginning on their road to electronica-ville, any association with the likes of Aphex Twin is likely to count in their favour.
Despite the initial similarity to the so-called founding father of experimental electronica, Snareburst have dug out their own sonic niche, punching out a fairly unique combination of electronic and psychedelic music – it carries the same repetitive, drawn-out build-and-peak structure as a lot of trance, but with some more abstracted, frantic drumming reminiscent of the heartbeat pattern of someone on some fierce hallucinogens. There is also a hefty proportion of very Squarepusher-esque glitchy stabs added to the mix that further heightens the sense of being slightly out of touch with the common conception of reality.
In keeping with the album name, individual tracks are denied the luxury of titles, instead being differentiated by the letters A to K. A clever concept, but one that feels almost ‘too’ clever, subsequently tainting the album with a bit of a pretentious aftertaste. Surely, having gone to all the effort of painstakingly rehearsing and constructing these live performances, one would feel enough attachment to them to grace them with descriptive titles? It’s this aspect of “Alpha Demo” – its attitude – that brings Snareburst down from really solid, well-produced intellectual dance music, in the vein of Autechre, to the level of merely standard, technically adequate electronica fare. It feels unapproachable, elitist and overly intellectual, without enough pure creative passion to carry the music to an emotional level in the listener.


— David vander Merwe

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