A.R.GH – Abuse (Prime Unit, 2010)

Posted in A.R.GH, Prime Unit by HOLIDAYS on July 16, 2010

Abuse was a bit tough at first, just as the title would promote. It wasn’t until the second listen that I perked up a bit to what I was hearing, and found an appreciation for it. First and foremost, this is definitely a NOISE release. While it’s a no brainer, I emphasize it because while first listening to it, all I could think of was a Merzbow documentary/videozine entry I had seen where Masami Akita described his first ventures into noise- simply making music he suspected no one would want to listen to. Based in Santiago, Chile, A.R.GH (moniker of Andres Rojas) has been around since 2005, presenting only one other entry prior to Abuse, his first physical release.

Said to have been recorded with a minimal setup, it shows through the sound on both sides, sounding rather thin; a sound that often goes back and forth from irritating feedback, to loud, genuine distorted noise, but still shining through with enough dynamism to keep the release interesting enough to move forward. My first listen seemed rather enduring (probably where I get words like ‘irritating’ from), but was the second time around that I found an appreciation, mostly through the sounds simplicity, and irritation. I felt as if it put me back in a place I hadn’t been in awhile, almost as if I were listening to it without ears trained for noise once again, which was a surprisingly good feeling.

Abuse makes its mark as a good back-t0-basics noise release. It’s simple, and just as noise was intended to be presented by Merzbow- it’s certainly music that many people would not want to hear- but not here. The only real bone I feel I have to pick with release is the length. I took my second listen one side at a time, and it was within those sessions that I was able to better orient my mind in regards to how I felt about the release. On a much more positive note, the packaging for this release is pretty impressive. While I enjoy alternative packaging for cassettes, the more professional presentation goes a very long way as well. The artwork (by Francisco Rivera) is quite peculiar and certainly gives you something to look at through the 40 minute duration of the tape.

As I’m writing this, all the copies (a very small edition of 20) have been spoken for, but I believe it’s the releases to come that should be given attention. While Abuse stands well as an entry level, I’d say Andres has a decent foundation to build upon.

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