This is a strange one. There is nothing about XHOHX's debut album Karyotipexplosion that is comfortable or pleasant. Intentionally so. XHOHX's mission statement is "...to get rid of their own musical education, fruit of a lobotomy cleverly orchestrated right from childhood....XHOHX is motivated by the atonal and polyrhythmic language in the spirit of the No Wave and Rock In Opposition bands.""
Hmmm..."fruit of a lobotomy, cleverly orchestrated right from childhood"...any of you out there got children? Give a child sour porridge for the first time- it spits it out, right? Give it a nibble of a little milk chocolate square - it demands more. Right? Sweetness, pattern, form are things that people intuitively respond to. Sure, we all also have an inclination to explore and develop our abilities but this is different to eschewing everything that has gone before. To do so means going into an ultra-minority niche, open only to cult followers. Which brings us neatly back to XHOHX, whose music and message will only ever appeal to a small minority.
XHOHX are a Belgian band comprising Ramon Ribas Coca (guitar-engineer-programming) and Oregoalkatzor (bass - onomatopoeias-design) that have previously released a demo disc Melanik Stone and an EP Telluric Five. Greg Joveniaux guests on Karyotipexplosion making noises with his sax on "Turmenza".
Like I said in the opening paragraph, there is nothing comfortable about Karyotypexplosion, either in the music (or is it noise, where is the border? ), the artwork or the message.
The "music" is certainly energetic. Noisy. For "polyrhythmic" read "random". There is some form here, but it is difficult to discern, like some jazz-fusion experimentation gone totally ballistic. The clearest example of structure I could discern was at the start of "Leghio", when the players made several bursts of noise separated by rests: that they managed to play their respective instruments together shows a desire to count time and come in together, something most bands are pleased to do! That episode aside, I couldn't discern whether they could actually play their instruments conventionally if they had to, the "music", played at a furious pace throughout, gave no clues. The vocalizations are crude: there is no singing; only grunts, groans, growls, yells, and screams.
The artwork is grisly. The front cover depicts a scene from an operation, a bloated organ protruding from the surgeon's incision and, in a smaller sub-window, an embryo's arm during a cesarian. It gets worse inside the CD booklet where piles of corpses adorn the production credits.
And the message? This is part of the poem printed on one of the corpse-heaps, you'll excuse me for replicating it here in prose: "Without hatred the butchers will cut the innocent's throat and his karyotypes will spread into the philistine's universe. The prophet will ask the madman and the damned will answer "Karyotypexplosion! Every action is politics!" From here and there, we go about our business,. Awareness strides over the borders of greed, power ordains its mass in front of stall of maimed people. Had the earth as many mouths as the pores of the skin, then, at the time of the uprising, its howling would dreadfully pierce the universe's eardrums, and our passivity would give birth to the cataclysm of the karyotypes."
In all, Karyotypexplosion is a challenging work. I didn't find it pleasant. But then I enjoy recognizable melody and rhythm and I like poetry with form. And guys, it may just be that you're wearing the emperor's new clothes.
1) Primat (00:08)
2) Dzahindzo (03:10)
3) Blaxbox (02:10)
4) Kohlerio Neanderthal (01:29)
5) Gegen (03:38)
6) Zuth (02:51)
7) ZtumenaMetastab Ilis (03:48)
8) Nera Febramata (02:34)
9) Leghio (03:28)
10) Silexo (03:59)
11) Tell Vs Rezistan Zik (04:24)
12) Nukleark (22:52)