Lovers of abrasive sound take heed, Matt Weston has issued a new album on his 7272music label. "Not to Be Taken Away" sees Weston combining electronic and live percussion in a manner similar to the way mad scientists create abominations on film. The end result is a mutated, ugly beast of sonic terror, albeit with unmistakable charm lurking below the horrible exterior.
"Not to Be Taken Away" opens with the jarring "Railsplitters." Far from a simple opening salvo, this track is a full-on nuclear winter. A disjointed mess of drum and distortion cutting in and out repeatedly. You may think your headphones or stereo are shorting out. "Millions of Yeah" follows, and at over ten minutes is the longest track on the album. Piles of feedback tumble end-over-end, snowballing into a gigantic ball of static noise. Intricately assembled while still maintaining a dsintictly freeform flavor.
Weston again demonstrates his proclivity for nuanced maximalism on "Something Sensational," wherein he mashes drum and synth before violently cramming them through a series of filters. The end sequence of this track sounds like a conversation one might hear taking place between Little Mac and Doc from Punch-Out!! while tripping acid. It's not all force, all the time for Weston though.
In Weston's kinder moments he can give us tasty nuggets like "Sing Like This," which sounds like the final thoughts of a trapped fly being burned to death under a magnifying glass. "Yeah to Slang" is even more accessible-- well, if you consider nails-on-chalkboard, screeching glass and metal emissions to be accessible, that is. The rusty gate ambience of "Transistor Radio" is probably one of the most purely "listenable" things here, but that isn't saying much.
Weston seems to take devious glee in pushing the listener to their limits. While "Not to Be Taken Away" isn't the harshest noise album I've ever heard in terms of sheer ferocity, Weston's creations have an uncanny ability for getting under one's skin and scraping at bone and sinew, making the listener wince in pain. 7/10 -- Robert Oberlander (24 June, 2009)