CD, Hymen, 2009
This album is kind of weird, in the sense that the central idea seemed to be to kind of randomly throw ‘stuff’ together, and give it a nice smooth ‘organic flow’. I suppose it’s a bit redundant and late in the game to call attention to montage techniques in IDM-ish style music. But “The Workers Party Of Haiti” does encompass a fairly bizarre range of musical stylings: there’s club tracks, random noises, bad video game music, soothing background tracks, soundtrack out-takes, etc.
This is the second full length offering from Marching Dynamics, the latest alias of Shane Talada. Prior to Marching Dynamics, Talada had a more rhythmic noisesque project known as The Operative. While name changes for reason of altering musical direction always slightly irritate me, this one kind of makes sense. The Operative had more of a concrete sound structure and was more rhythm heavy, and Marching Dynamics is an anything-goes project with a gentler touch to the music.
If you’ve ever seen either projects live, your appreciation for this release will probably be higher. The musicians hide behind strange and at times amusing costumes, avoiding the all too frequent temptation of ‘personality’ or an appeal to empathy. Instead the performance takes a conjoining of random musical and visual elements bringing them together under rhythm and basslines.
The first tracks that start to appeal on the first listen, are the ones that seem almost club-friendly with their heavy and smooth basslines. Tracks like “Apparition Speaks,” “Wrong Volt,” and “Bizango Datura” all contain a bassline, some tribal sounding percussion, an enchanting array of warm pads, and neat samples. These tracks contrast nicely with those which sound like soundtrack outtakes from a David Lynch film (think Tympanik Audio releases) such as “Situation Vacant.”
Keep in mind this isn’t just another IDM release, which is just a collection of soothing pads and breaks. In my opinion, the strongest element of this album’s production is the hypnotizing use of panning. “Spoor of the Wolf in the Wet Earth” is the track that makes the most prominent use of panning (a bit hypnotic over a nice pair of head phones). The other strength of “The Workers Party Of Haiti” is to bring together random sounds that don’t seem to belong with one another. “Eschelons (the Ninth Life)” really makes me laugh, as it makes me think of playing Atari in the jungle while swating at mosquitoes that probably carry malaria (but that’s just me).
In general, the eccentric element of ‘”The Workers Party Of Haiti” could be summed up as non-sequential signs and musical events being thrown into a blender. As a general rule, I find the focusing on ‘depth,’ ‘meaning,’ or ‘personality’ a clear sign of impoverishment – it’s a lot more fun to let the random flow of signification do its magic. This album appeals directly to such bricolage impulse, which is even exemplified by its title. I’m assuming “The Worker’s Party of Haiti,” isn’t a code for the Fanmi Lavalas… But maybe it is; regardless, I don’t think it’s that important (it might draw on a connotative aura, but meaning is always sliding).
If you ever wanted a Tonikom album with more layering and larger array of sounds, you’ll love this album (ironically, it features a really fun re-work of Tonikom’s – “29°”).
— Lemmy S.