Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: Xhohx - Karyotypexplosion (2007)

The soundtrack to your seizure
Short bio of the band:
Xhohx is a Belgian duo of Ramon Ribas Coca (guitar, drum programming) and Oregolakatzor (bass). They play a chaotic yet organized form of heavy avant garde rock, with influences from Japanese Avant-rock bands (Ruins) and from American bands (Flying Luttenbachers) and also from the highly esteemed Belgian band Univers Zero. They themselves state their influences to be as they write in their Myspace: "Chaotic and Organic No Wave, Poly-rhythmic and Atonal Music". Their music is highly complex, energetic and relentless. Their first full length from 2007, Karyotypexplosion, will appeal to all listeners into "organized chaos" avant-rock.

This is a review I wrote in 2007 (so excuse the disorganization). 

This is complex, hectic, wild, demented…. Fantastic! I mean, fantastic for me, as this is one of the types of music I like. Disjointed, angular, at times disharmonic, heavy and crazy. Shouts, almost growling in style, are appearing every once in a while alongside other mutated forms of vocals, but for the most part, the guitars, bass and programmed drums (though done very well and not very noticeable to me that they are indeed programmed) move this forward frantically and without much rest.

There is something of everything here; some Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, some math-rock intricacies, Japanese avant rock bands such as Ruins, sometimes even Univers Zero comes to my mind, and I hear this industrial feel maybe due to the form of the music and its beat. All this is mixed and served in a mélange that makes it hard to decipher what influences are there and what are the ingredients. But, whatever is in there, I like the result. The tracks are mostly short, but are full of high energy and madness. And while it is complex and may seem like chaos, there is a form and particular sound and order here which make this for me quite accessible, and an entertaining listen.

With the promotional material that came with this release, there is a short “bio” that says: “Created in 2002, XHOHX originates from two musicians’ will to get rid of their own musical education, fruit of a lobotomy cleverly orchestrated right from childhoos…. XHOHX is motivated by the atonal polyrhytmic language in the spirit of No Wave and Rock In Opposition bands”. I think that this is in no way the work of brainless people, but rather compositions which will appeal to listeners already used to this sort of music and that will demand a lot from people who want to get into it. To me this is a great find, an album that breaks the usual routine, an album that opens doors to new sounds and possibilities, music that manages (as I see it) to dive into the waters of far end avant rock and yet stay above the too-deep mark (my personal mark that is) and dwell in a level that is a comfortable and even natural “depth” for me.

I also would like to state that I think the music, while being very complex is well done and performed and that the drum programming is very well done (as it is a the corner stone of this kind of music). This release is recommended to fans of avant-garde rock, and all those influences mentioned above. I look forward to their future release.

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