Forget everything you thought you knew about the music of Avarus. Better yet, take all that you know about their music, slice it up into manageable chunks, pile the chunks one on top of the other and slam the whole bricolage straight through the first available hole in your skull. This is as best a description of the effects of listening to ?II? for the first time that I can give. It certainly is an adventure, managing to extract some sense of order from the intense mountain of sonic madness. But perhaps it?s best to simply embrace the chaos, to let the cyclone carry you with it, rather than trying to find what?s left of where you used to be.
?II? is Avarus? second release for Toronto?s HP Cycle imprint, a vinyl-only label that specializes in extracting sound from the outer fringes of the underground. As with the first HP Cycle album (incidentally, it?s called ?III?), there is little information describing the recording ? no track listing, no list of players, nothing to identify the A-side from the B-side. What I believe to be Side A has arrows drawn on the label, running in the direction of the disc while it?s playing. This side seems to be broken up into three sections, but they are merely differences in theme, as the usual transitional crutches have been eschewed. The music of Side A runs the gamut: from hyperactive broken funk mayhem, to throbbing bass runs and rudimentary scratching (!!!!!), to organ tones stretching out into infinity. Circuit-bent kids toys and a mildly disturbing violin at times ornament the already haphazard free-for-all.
Side B has a more organic feel to it than its predecessor. It is on this side that the tornado touches down and scatters shattered husks of musical instruments throughout the land. Tape effects transform a guitar into a chirping bird while a chorus of groaning violins and a throbbing drum pulse provide a sense of direction. The drum drops out of the mix for what seems like a split second and it is now clear that the only direction is up! And up! And UP! Near the end of the record, Avarus manage to convey the sound of your next-door neighbour simultaneously playing a Kid606 record and a heavily pitched up Sun Ra record.
So exit Avarus the purveyors of primitive pounding folk, and enter Avarus the molten schizoid gabber monsters! I have only three more words for you: HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!!!!! 10/10 -- Bryon Hayes (31 July, 2006)