CD, Edgetone Records, 2009
I’m not terribly familiar with 15 Degrees Below Zero, although I do seem to remember liking some of the stuff that I have heard from them in the past. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of “Resting On A”. To be honest, I’m sort of at a loss as to why anyone would release this sort of thing. I can sum up this whole record quickly for you, in one word, in fact: pointless.
“Resting On A” is a very simple record; it sounds like some guys got together, recorded a bunch of random sounds, tossed them into a sampler, turned the distortion up and then dropped them haphazardly into a sequencer. Now, I know that sounds like a ridiculous over-simplification, but sadly it’s actually not. Every song is basically some distorted field recordings, a distorted drone and maybe some distorted bass guitar noise, all just sort of laid on top of each other with no particular attention paid to structure, flow, or integration. The whole thing just feels empty and haphazardly thrown together. Even the song titles reek of pointlessness (“2.5”, “3.4.1”, “3.4.4”… really, that’s all you could come up with?). A perfect example of why this album fails is “3.12.1”. This track features a weird and quasi-creepy sounding sample that plays for the whole track, however it sounds completely out of place and doesn’t mesh with the noisy atmosphere whatsoever. It doesn’t help that the mixing is so poor that you can barely even make out what the sample is saying, not to mention the noise will randomly just stop or skip for a second and then start again. The whole time I listen to this record I can’t help but think to myself “why does this exist?” It feels like these guys were like “hey this is a cool sample and um here are some distorted noises… yeah just throw them all into the track and it’ll probably sound cool”. Honestly, if that was how the studio process went I would not be surprised in the slightest.
Ok, so to be fair, once in a while there will be a notable, or even atmospheric, dark/evil sounding drone. There are even some fairly cool sounding noisy sections which evoke mental images of abandoned abattoirs and dead rotting bodies in the bathtub (though these are few and far between), but bands like Steel Hook Prosthesis have been doing this sort of thing for years, and doing it much better with significantly more terrifying results. Bands like SHP succeed because they have convincing atmospheres and feeling behind their music; “Resting On A” feels empty and void of goal or purpose. Though the album is mostly noise, the over twenty-minute track “2.5” is predominantly slow moving drone ambient, and I think this is the best part of the whole record. It’s not terribly interesting, but it flows just enough in its desolate minimalism to conjure up some semblance of atmosphere. I would urge 15DBZ to focus more on droning ambient.
The bottom line is that this is very basic, directionless noise ambient album which I will never listen to again, and it is unnecessary in just about anyone’s collection. Some of it is not terrible, but there is nothing here to make you say, “hey I really want to pull that 15DBZ album off the shelf”.
— Dan Barrett