Silica Gel, Repetophile | Neptunes Parlour | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
This is a past event.

Silica Gel, Repetophile 

When: Wed., July 13, 8 p.m. 2016
Price: free



"Digital sound sampling devices are... able to render the whole orchestral panoply, plus all that grunts, or squeaks," wrote plunderphonics progenitor John Oswald in his widely cited 1985 manifesto on the subject. Under that umbrella of sampling, you'll find everything from Beastie Boys' 1989 masterwork Paul's Boutique to Girl Talk's dense walls of mash-ups. But in both instances, the chopped and repurposed materials are used to create something accessible—as revolutionary as Paul's Boutique was, ultimately there weren't that many grunts or squeaks.

For that, you have to aim instead for something like Evolution Control Committee's "Rocked by Rape," in which Dan Rather newscasts are rearranged to form gleefully twisted lines like "emergency anti-fatal shooting rampage," as ham-fisted AC/DC riffs chug mindlessly along. In the age of the sampler, this kind of music is the equivalent of Marcel Duchamp's Fountain: it simultaneously screams "this clattering mess is art" and "fuck art."

Wednesday night, a local difficult music masterpiece sees a loving 180-gram double LP reissue, twenty-three years after its initial release. Silica-Gel's 50) Noisy Children Party, the raucous electronic creation of Michael Pilmer and Chris Tector, was first issued on CD in 1993. Cuts like "Jerk" present damaged, danceable percussion—a deranged version of what was called "techno" at the time—while the slowed-down voice in "Master of the Game" describes the tattoos on a homicide victim over disembodied voices singing "ohs" and "oohs." "Pssst" is a minute and a half of static, bloops, and bleeps while the phrase "did they tell you?" repeats, to a maddening end, while another voice confesses "secrets are good/secrets are bad." In "Sex w/ a Woman," an insistent drum machine pushes forward while an emotionless voice intones "have sex with a woman" a dozen times or so. In spots, it's a disturbing record, while cuts like "You Bear Gram Her" are riotously funny. Almost a quarter century later, Silica-Gel remains aggressively weird in the best way. —Corbie Hill


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