Phantomsmasher - Phantomsmasher
Ipecac Recordings
Avant-Garde, Cybergrind
9 songs (42:48)
Release year: 2002
Ipecac Recordings
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

One of those wonderfully obtuse and obscure projects that only a few people ever get to hear about, Phantomsmasher was a project from James Plotkin, who some will know from projects as diverse as Khanate, O.L.D, Khylst, and so on. Hardly household names, but then this sort of dementedly eccentric music never will be. Joined by Municipal Waste/Discordance Axis/etc drummer Dave Witte and underground icon DJ Speedranch, Phantomsmasher play a pretty unique avant-garde style that twists melodies together into strangely psychedelic mixtures, utilising both drums and drum machine together in one of the most original uses of each I’ve heard. The overall effect is utterly deranged but oddly tuneful, opening track Bishop Hopping druggy and dreamy with moments of both melody and dissonance creating a formula that doesn’t so much grow on you as in you with repeated listens, taking up residence in your mind and playing itself back to you from there...

Both playful and sinister, childlike and determinedly adult, Phantomsmasher (the project’s second and, to date, last full-length) is a wonderful showcase for the talents of all involved, especially Plotkin for creating these deranged structures in the first place. Moving from ambience to noise rock, from blasting grind to warped electronica, genres are mashed together with gleeful abandon, sinister soundscapes forced to dance for your amusement. The drums and bass-driven Anubis Innertube, backed with trance synths that never manage to be melodic due to underlying blastbeats and distant eerie vocal mutterings from DJ Speedranch, is in strange contrast yet agreement with Blackjack With Krakun as it dementedly switches between vocal-driven chaos and drum machine blasting. Scrolling Sideways makes your ears bleed with its mishmashes of percussive sound and then caresses them with catchy bass-twanging melodies, in effect something like King Crimson remixed by Venetian Snares.

Few albums manage to make such a sonic collage so intriguing, Halibut Jones’ eastern-sounding twangs as vibrant and interesting as the simple melody at the heart of Slobtronic. The variety and broadmindedness on show is almost as exciting as the music itself, which has a sort of airy timelessness to it despite being nine years old and so driven by electronica. Whether you’re attracted by the grind elements or the noise rock, Phantomsmasher is the sort of project which will get you researching the other as a matter of course. Worth hunting down, for those who want something different.

Killing Songs :
Bishop Hopping, Blackjack With Krakun, Scrolling Sideways, Halibut Jones, Slobtronic
Goat quoted 85 / 100
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:43 pm
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