CD, self-released, 2009
Put a bunch of aging Throbbing Gristle fans in a room with stacks of analog equipment. Lock the door and come back a couple of decades later and you may discover something quite startling: instead of the decomposed remains of a creative collaboration, you will instead be faced with the newly-energised and thoroughly interesting experimental music project that is Violence and the Sacred, or Viosac.
When the twenty-first century spawned a plethora of bedroom producers, each churning out multitudes of generic, sampled, common-time dance junk, this group didn’t get the memo. Instead of retreating to the safety of the studio and hiding behind anonymous monitors, Viosac put together lengthy, involved improvisational pieces using real instruments. Admittedly, they didn’t play their instruments in the way nature (or the engineers responsible for the development) intended, instead forcing them to generate bizarre and sometimes frightening landscapes of texture and atmosphere. Traditional instruments, including flutes, cellos and guitars, have also wound their way through the turbulent musical history of Viosac, slotting in alongside a barrage of manipulated synthesizers.
The most recent result, “You Are Planning To Enjoy The Apocalypse”, requires patience. It is not easy to listen to, nor to assimilate or even begin to comprehend. It is a vastly abstract undertaking that hardly classifies as music; it is unsettling and occasionally annoying. But on top of all that, it is a testament to a group of people defying convention and reveling in the purity of the simple act of creation. Viosac are unlikely to enjoy massive commercial success based on this album, simply because the public are not ready for it: the thought processes required for (and spawned by) “You Are Planning To Enjoy The Apocalypse” are way beyond the evolutionary level occupied by your average wage-earning biped. So, kudos to Viosac for doing what they’ve always done (and getting better at it along the way!), but alas, it is unlikely that they’ll be able to leave their dayjobs anytime soon.
— David vander Merwe