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Author and Punisher: Ursus Americanus

I want to point out that this album has officially been out since the end of April, so this review may seem a little late to some readers. Nevertheless, I've been excited to write this review and to think, along with you, about ways of listening to this music, known by some by the name "mechadoom." It's important, I think, to have a name for the music released by Author and Punisher, mainly because it won't necessarily sound like anything you've heard before. Just take a look at the picture that adorns the cover of this release. On it, we see Tristan Shone, the man behind the music, sitting with his electronic gear strapped and ready to go. I assume that, like me, most people don't know exactly what it is he's playing. I don't intend to go through it all, nor could I, but I think that the image of Shone and his gear really should bring to mind the 60s Bob Dylan. Do you remember when he used to wear his harmonica on the top of his chest with a harness of sorts, so he could play it while strumming his guitar? That's what I think of when I see some kind of metal box, surely some kind of voice machine, attached to Shone's upper chest, his mouth leaning into the equipment, ready to create.

The music on this album is decidedly futuristic, whatever that means. Some of us will be glad for the sneak peak, but some of us will hope that the future holds a different progression of chords, rhythms, and sounds. Whatever the ultimate verdict, the music here clearly borders on the edge of techno and something that could resemble both death metal and probably drone music. Listening to the album was a powerful experience in one major sense--I found that it cleared my mind somewhat and allowed me to think about things, to make connections between the flitting ideas that wander around in everyday thought. The problem, though, was that I struggled to listen to the actual music. I enjoyed letting my mind wander, but I simply could not bring all my attention to the actual music. This disappointed me, especially since I suspect that Shone's creativity is rather striking. The first half of the album, for me, was difficult to listen to, not something that I would imagine listening to again. Things changed, though, with the last two cuts. I was struck by the sound of "Below and Above You" (I'm actually listening to it again and again as I write this). I also greatly admired what I considered to be the melancholy of the final track "ILL Consuming."

I can't recommend this album to most listeners--I'm guessing that Author and Punisher is probably something to catch on the road, so the experience of the player--and his instruments--can be taken in visually and aurally. The album would then serve as a reminder of an experience, the visual memory helping to connect the music with the musician. As for me, I can only say that this work makes me curious about the future of music, but I'm not ready to let this mark the path.

Track Listing:
1. Terrorbird
2. Lonely
3. Mercy Dub
4. Set Flames
5. Flesh Ants
6. Below and Above You
7. ILL Consuming

Added: June 30th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1530
Language: english

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