Maintaining an impartiality of sorts in front of Terminal Velocity is a pretty arduous task for yours truly. Over the years, both Jon Mueller and James Plotkin have been furnishing my life with the kind of vibrational impact that every human hypothetically needs (but the large part of them doesn’t know), no record from either of them having not caused at least a measure of lasting consequence. This double LP – conceived in the spring of 2011 shortly before a performance at the Utech Records Music Festival, the couple recording everything in rural Wisconsin – contradicts the relatively abbreviated times of its creation. It is a grouping of pieces of (mostly) medium length, gradual unfolding and inward-to-outward striking transiency establishing vital patterns inside listeners inclined to the visualization of existence as a single, omni-comprehensive composition. In fact, these 65 minutes must be taken as a totality, a unique cycle of instrumentally enhanced beingness not to be subdivided in parts or, worse, “classified”.
The veritably biogenic attribute is the awesome intensity of the joint resonances. Mueller and Plotkin achieve an identical aim via different approaches, the former’s trademark rattle on the snare drum and the latter’s merciless alteration of guitar sounds joining their harmonic souls in threatening mantras whose pinnacles transcend the significance of a nomenclature. You can say “drone”, “roar”, “rumble” and even so miss the core of the matter. Parallelisms with natural events might work slightly better, but this is a trick to which this very writer has recurred in the past, quite trite by now. Sometimes the compulsory systematization of multiple resounding treatments is inevitably deceitful; this seems to be the case in point par excellence. Picture a nuclear fission commenced by a lone shaman in a Niagara-like aural landscape to come a little closer to the type of alarming grandness we’re talking here.
Though the sources are more or less manifest, the energetic regenerations that they produce are equivalent to an evolved organic process ultimately ending in a an extra-corporeal quagmire. A thorough examination of the remotest corners of our perceptual experience is something for which we, as sonic analysts, must constantly strive. Musicians such as Mueller and Plotkin are likely to be driven by the same combination of opposing forces – uncertainty and confidence, serenity and edginess – that pushes certain minds to perform “that” step beyond the ordinary. If they are now laughing at the above considerations because they just wanted to generate serious noise for other reasons, they still left me punch-drunk in utter ecstasy.
Touching Extremes’ best of 2012 to date. Fantastic stuff, hurry up.