Aperiodic: Free Form Punk Jazz and a Shitload of Reverb

Future Feedback
Phratry Records
Released: 10.23.12

An absence of instruction; an onslaught of something primordial and gooey, I often wish that pop musicians would make albums like Future Feedback, the latest release from the experimental free form punk band Aperiodic, whose members include guitarist Kevin Parrett, drummer Matt Shulz (formerly of Enon and currently with Holy Fuck) and multi-instrumentalist Ben Perkins (The Exponential).  It stands to reason that a creative height is ultimately followed by its necessary destruction and that the complete removal of musical syntax, the perversion of phrasing or riffing and that the complete absence of discipline with regard to percussion or rhythm is required to carry it all out.

Impulse! jazz understood thisLou Reed understood this.

Arguing the merit of Aperiodic, since punk rock's inception, the booooosshhhwaaaah concepts of traditional music and attention to form had to be challenged.  No Wave took license with the rebellion punk rock initially meant to incite and the genre turned into something truly abrasive, an art concept that ran with punk's intended threatening demeanor and injected it full of sonic shrapnel.  The period itself lasted maybe a year, but bands like DNA, Teenage Jesus & The Jerks and Mars had an immeasurable impact on later era noise/art bands.  As pretentious as it is to say that melody is pointless, that rhythm is a mere triviality and that notes are a waste of time, such declarations have some validity.

Notice I said "some."  Inasmuch as improvisation has enabled music to grow and allowed musicians to rethink and reinvent, if everything were noise there would be no point.  A piece of bass heavy, organically strange anti-music like "The New West" only retains its worth so long as there's somewhere to go once these aurally offensive fantasies are appeased.  And while there seems to be little on the surface other than aimless drum and guitar work, you do find here and there some semblance of composition.  The reason a band like Aperiodic interests me is because there's something to be found the more you listen, which isn't the easiest thing to do.  I'd be lying if I said Future Feedback was something I could simply throw on, absorb and dismantle.  I'm not even sure I think it's cool, but I do think it's interesting enough to discuss.

A few months ago, I posted "Voided," a track that owes a lot to the high frequency, difficult to absorb, NYC-addled art rock destruction cultivated by the No New York set and other second gen acts or performers like Glenn Branca and Sonic Youth.  As a single, it's demonstrative of much of what you'll hear in Future Feedback, the type of alienating, distorted, free form experimentation that's either earned love and devotion or inspired ire and complete and utter disdain throughout the years.  "Munich Structures" follows with Dirty Three styled violin strings and rampant piano keys, heavy kick drum and a veritable sword fight of percussive elements and "L'Ange Ex Terminateur" sounds like whale song feeding back into an arena-sized amplifier.

"La Pena Vivir," though, follows with more structure, a very ominous and atonal surge resting beneath a shower of cymbal and snare beats.  It's like listening to Rashied Ali or Elvin Jones back up Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, the brittle and lasting churn of squealing and expansive reverb ghostly against the overabundant bass tone and percussion.  For me, "La Pena Vivir" is Future Feedback's highest point, a balanced synthesis of Aperiodic's experimental jaunts and some willingness to refine and formalize their sound.

The doom-laden piano ditty "Amelia's Regret" follows a riff of sorts, though its use is sporadic.  The closing track, "De-Realization," is a wildly inarticulate 7+ minutes, featuring degraded dialogue samples and scrubbed bass strings.  I love that drum rhythm, though.  Schulz drops a jazz combo as the noise fades and various stabs in the soundscape lessen, carrying the album to fruition in a series of snare hits that add purpose to the mix.  It's a beautiful thing and the sort of compositional perfection you only hear from a band so determined to be anything but.

Edit: It was brought to my attention that I incorrectly named one of the members of the band, Aperiodic.  The drummer's name is Matt Schulz.  I apologize for the error as I do normally attempt to edit, re-edit and re-edit the edits in order to make sure there are no careless mistakes, especially with regard to band names, album names and, of course, the names of members or performers discussed. This was a slip-up.  Thank you to "Anonymous" for pointing it out. 

Letters From A Tapehead


Anonymous said…
FYI: Matt Schulz not Ben Schulz.

Sean Caldwell said…
Thanks very much for bringing this to my attention.

Letters From A Tapehead

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