I was going to write a long, involved entry about why I haven’t posted any new reviews in such a long time, but let’s just say I’m sort of nuts and move on, eh? Take it from me; over-thinking sucks.
Anyhow, on with the review.
“Puzzle Pieces” (and especially the following Ophibre release, “Shattered CD”) are rather enigmatic. On one hand, the source material seems more or less familiar to noise-friendly ears– analog electronics, some mild feedback, static-soaked keys, grounding issues, and even a bit of abused accordion– but in another very real way, both release are terribly unfamiliar. Its as if the listener has stumbled upon an open window, and finds himself studying the occupants within… only they’re all wearing horse masks, and walking around backwards with the lights down low.
Recognizable activity, yes. Recognizable intent, no.
So while many artists have played with their own anonymity (Banksy, Boards of Canada, or Bob Dylan, for instance) it is somewhat more rare (and pleasingly uncomfortable for me!) to find an artist subverting the often-public realm of artistic intent. Where Banksy is obviously satirical, and BOC for the occasional chill room; determining much of anything about Ophibre (even the name, sheesh) is a futile exercise.
Unfortunately, with so little to work with, listeners may find themselves in a high-contrast, like-it-or-not situation. As for my two cents, I find “Puzzle Pieces” to be more enjoyable overall. It is a bit more musical, and has elements of old-school minimalism– so I’m referencing the looping and repetition, not the complexity of sound, which is actually quite dense in most parts.
“Shattered CD” is far too homogeneous through most of the first half to keep my attention, and when things do finally become more interesting, the artist begins a series of somewhat tedious bouts of silence, which really interrupts the overall experience.
At a price of under $4 each, I don’t want to argue with these too much– I do appreciate the recording quality, which is both clean and personal; and the unique nature of these albums, which certainly inspire me to much more consideration than many self-released noise discs.