Minmae - "Vonsachiang"
(Airborne Virus Records 2000, AV008, CD)
From Aural Innovations #14 (January 2001)
After having reviewed two 7" discs from Minmae (in issues #7 & #9) I was pleased to receive this new full length CD. Minmae (aka Sean Brooks) plays a raw and grungy brand of pop, psych, noise, freakout music that despite its harshness has a great deal of passion.
The opening track, "Of Sapience And Design", is actually my favorite. The song starts as a bouncy pop tune, but quickly goes psycho noise freakout with chainsaw guitars and agonized vocals... only to return to being a bouncy poppy tune again. This time the pop component slowly evolves into the freakout bit with ear-splitting guitars and a dancey beat that seems to coexist in the same realm. Mayhem ensues as the song progresses but I rocked along all the same. Good one Sean.
Songs like "The Excelsior" and "1st Degree Of Vonsachiang" feature the more ambient droning side of Minmae. I especially like "The Excelsior", a droney ambient piece with floating, but somewhat warped guitars, and a nice touch of dissonance and a psychedelic edge. Other highlights include "Saturnine Particle", a trippy droney song with a simple but pleasing melody, and "The Alchemist" which is a cool ambient space drone guitar track.
"Helicoptoro" and "Area" showcase the more ambient electronic side of Minmae. "Helicoptoro" has a more classic floating electronica sound with repetitive murmuring lines, pulsating synths, and light drones. And "Area" is similar, but accompanied by distorted wailing sounds. "Twisted Sister" is a grungy trip rocker I really enjoyed. Kind of like a rawer version of Spiritualized or King Black Acid. And finally, "Less Than Or Equal To" is a jamming guitar noise-fest that includes melodic guitar but also some of the most brain-splitting sounds on the album.
In summary, Minmae's music may be raw, chaotic, and a bit on the lo-fi side, but Brooks has a knack for inserting nice melodies in the midst of turmoil and plays a nice mix of spacey freakout music and ambient drones. This is raw and chaotic stuff but it's the freakout element that makes it fun.
For more information you can the Airborne Virus Records web site.
Or go for the gusto and order the CD for $9.00 postage paid from Airborne Virus Records; PO Box 420825; San Francisco, CA 94142-0825.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz