Wednesday 20 September 2017
Review by Joey (back from the dead, maybe)
Genre/s: Industrial, Post-Punk, Power Electronics, Noise Rock, Art Punk, Noise
For Fans Of: Factrix, SPK, Flipper, Monte Cazazza
I was so happy when this finally got reissued last year with the original mix (as opposed to that tinny garbage on the 2004 "remastered" CD version) through Spain's BFE Records. The Shroud Of is Minimal Man's first LP, and also the weirdest -- within the grooves of this 12" lies a lethal mixture of sounds which draw from across the post-punk and industrial spectrum; and somehow, it is all cohesive. It shouldn't be hard to see why this might be (read: is) one of my favorite LPs of all time. And if you aren't already in the know, soon you will be.
Minimal Man was masterminded by Patrick Miller; the project had a revolving door lineup, which often featured collaborators from other San Francisco weirdo art bands such as Factrix and Tuxedomoon. Much like their fellow (and more famous) San Franciscan peers in Flipper, Minimal Man did not make any attempt to portray disillusionment / despondency / detachment / etc as romanticized or quirky; and instead, they unleashed an honest sonic representation of what all of that turmoil really feels like, accompanied by what can be seen as a sardonic attack on those who do take the romanticized or quirky approach. However, while Flipper focused on a more brooding and antagonistic approach, Minimal Man's method was more somber and unnerving, relying more on subtle (and overt) ominous soundscapes.
From the opening sample of the emotionally vacant Ronald Reagan, all the way through the climactic ending and ensuing fade out, The Shroud Of takes the listener on a frightening journey through the dark recesses of a damaged mind. The cacophonous arrangements of synth, electronics, bass, and hollow vocals on this LP are constantly at ends with -- yet complimentary of -- each other to a haunting effect; and each track is a an overwhelming push/pull of invasive thoughts, emotions, and urges which scramble the mind and plunge it deeper into nothingness. This is not fun music, even though at parts it may seem to be. The chilling moods created by Minimal Man do not disappear when the music ends, rather they saturate the air and stick to the listener's raised hairs like an elusive nervousness.
And now that you've gotten past the boring review part, here's what you came here for:
2. Two People
3. High Why
5. Blue Step
7. The Shroud
8. Now I Want It All
9. The Hex Of Sex
10. You Are
11. I Don't Resist
12. Jungle Song
13. She Was A Visitor
I HURT ALL OVER INSIDE...
P.S. I think I'm finally back and ready to bring the pain from my ears into yours (for real this time).