In a way the steady rhythms of Catastrophic Mermaids on Parade?s music bring to mind the works of projects like Pan Sonic or Goem. It?s the same highly reduced pulse, stretching out time and building grooves from tiny variations. Yet CMOP sound totally different still, as he (all tracks are credited to ?Me, Hermit the Flog?, which somehow makes me assume it?s ?he?) opts for blurred, saturated sounds, acoustic instruments and looped voices rather than gritty textures or sharp clicks and sine waves. So the music is moving on a far more psychedelic terrain than that of the aforementioned groups and even comes close to late 1980s ambient industrial at times.
There is certainly a raw edge to the music ? to the sound itself and to the way the tracks are built ? which works pretty well here. Often the sound manipulations are of a pretty rough nature, so that I wouldn?t be surprised to learn that at least parts of this music were created with basic equipment. Even though the sound is clearly electronic it is not that of bubbling synthesizer, but sounds of a hard to define acoustic or electronic origin slowly eroding as they cycle through a couple of pedals and looping devices and amalgamate into lo-fi rhythm structures.
Tracks usually start with a calm passage, after a while things are set in motion and then an angular groove is introduced that keeps on going with minimal variations only. While most of this is not music you would necessarily dance to, there is enough pressure in the sound to keep a satisfying energy level and even if some of the samples might drag on too much, the music?s focus hardly ever gets lost in boredom. Only the sixth track, which almost entirely relies on a long spoken-word sample fails in this respect.
Despite these weaker aspects and the curiously outdated looking digital graphics and odd titles, which accompany it, this release successfully manages to make itself comfortable in a niche somewhere between free rhythmic electronica and psychedelic drone rumblings. 6/10 -- Magnus Schaefer (5 February, 2008)