CD-R, self-released, 2007
When I first popped Banister’s “This is not about noise” into my CD player, I assumed that it’s yet another rhythmic noise act’s pretentious attempt at some sort of elitist genre disassociation which is usually done as a feeble attempt at reverse psychology. Lots of “artistes” seem to think that the way to epitomize oneself as the lord and master of a given style of music is via the rejection of classification of any kind. The kind of douchebaggery that Andrew Eldritch was known for with his whole “I’m not Goth”schtick, while knowing full well that kids in torn up fishnet shirts were his bread and butter. In this case I am willing to admit that I was wrong. “This is not about noise” indeed and to be frank I’m not quite sure what it’s about since this EP is a collection of 4 tracks that just don’t seem to go anywhere.
“This is not about noise” commences with a self-titled first track that we get acquainted with by the way of a tired intro that reminds us from the get to go, in case we’re going to forget later as to what this “isn’t about”. Apparently this isn’t religious, isn’t about the color of my skin or how my hair looks. It’s also not about (you guessed it…) noise. Instead it’s about repetitive loops that stretch out to an eight minute borefest. Next. The cheesily titled “Handcuffs & Ropes” reads like a laundry list of bad electronic music cliches. Endlessly insipid loops used ad nauseam: check. Generic porno sample: check. Plus one weak bassline. The overall sound of this song lacks thickness and generally falls very flat. One can hear an attempt made by the artist to break from the monotony of loop based dullness, by using random breaks mid-song here and there. It doesn’t do “Handcuffs & Ropes” any favors, since the bad pseudo breaks give you false hope that the song will be over, but alas it just keeps on going and does not get better. “noiZy dolls” brings us a much better bassline. You can also hear the automation being used in this track, which adds a much needed point of interest. Alas nothing can redeem the drum sounds, which make me want to shout “Dear Banister, the year 1990 called and wants it’s corny drum machine back” from rooftops so that he can hear me all the way in Portugal. Surprise, surprise more porno samples too. “PER(version)” sounds like it was written entirely on a Casio kiddie keyboard.
Final verdict: this collection of recordings suffers from poor sound choices and questionable mixing. The percussion is stale. While it’s not the worst thing I ever heard, it certainly falls into the realm of the bland and quickly forgettable. I made sure to give “This is not about noise” a fair trial by listening to it both stone cold sober and while in the process of getting wasted with a friend prior to attending my local club on a Friday night. I have a theory that things I don’t generally like usually sound better while I’m somewhat intoxicated. A theory by definition is a mere speculation that can be easily disproved. It took the above mentioned 4 songs to debunk the “just add liquor” myth. I felt the same way about “This is not about noise” drunk as I did while abstaining from libations. Namely it’s time for Banister to go back to the drawing board and start anew, because clearly this isn’t working.
— Bea W.