ONQ / Minmae - Split CD
(Airborne Virus Records 2000, AV010)

From Aural Innovations #14 (January 2001)

A split CD featuring 7 songs from ONQ and 6 from Minmae. I'm assuming from his email address that ONQ is from Italy. According to the promo material ONQ's background ranges from ordinary grunge and guitar rock to extreme grind core and noise chaos to improvisation and experimental music. He also released about 60 tapes through his Chupa Verga Rex label from 1994-2000, about 40 of which he plays on.

The music on this CD features the grunge and guitar rock, and a bit of the experimental side of ONQ. The disc opens with "Quoto 95 bpm", which starts with a dark, but child-like synth melody. Playful but a little sinister. Shooting space electronics soon join the fray, ultimately playing a melody that harmonizes with the original. A simple but enjoyable tune. "Naming Of Parts" is a harsh, but still melodic rocker. The melodic part comes from what sounds like a child's piano, contrasting nicely with the guitar and strained vocals. In fact, the sound and delivery of ONQ's vocals reminds me of the Legendary Pink Dots' Edward Ka Spel.

The remaining 5 ONQ tracks represent his more song-oriented style. Across these tracks I was continually reminded of the Pink Floyd style heard on their Animals album. "The Supreme Weight" in particular sounds like the song "Dogs". The music is played at drugged pace, but I found myself tuning in to ONQ's singing which has a drifting psychedelic quality, but is also a bit anguished making it nicely rough around the edges. "Lament 2000" and "Contra Vermes" stood out for the cool tabla beats that accompanied the music. Interesting.

Minmae isn't new to us, but for the uninitiated it is mostly the solo project of Californian Sean Brooks who heads up the Airborne Virus Records label. Minmae's 6 tracks feature some grungy, shoegazer, lo-fi songs. "Slow Interstellar Prostitution" is a short ethereally trippy guitar intro to the Minmae portion of the disc. "The Previous Show" is a guitar rocker that showcases Minmae's brand of grungy lo-fi pop. "Do Not Pretend" is a valium-paced, slightly psychedelic love song. "No End, No End" features electro percussion, shoegazer guitars, and ghostly vocals. The acoustic guitar gives it a bit of a folky sound making for an odd but enjoyable mix of influences. On "The Saddest Part Is Not The Insane", Minmae's melodic talents are showcased with bluesy Dave Gilmour styled guitar, and more of the folky acoustic guitar heard on "No End, No End". This track is way too short. I was really getting into it and wish it would have been developed a bit more.

In summary, ONQ and Minmae's music compliment each other nicely and this CD is a good introduction to both of them. I'd definitely like to hear more from ONQ. As for Minmae, I enjoyed these tracks but was far more impressed with their new Vonsachiang CD (also reviewed this issue).

For more information you can visit the Airborne Virus records web site.
Contact via snail mail at Airborne Virus Records; PO Box 420825; San Francisco, CA 94142-0825.
You can visit ONQ at the Chupa Verga Rex Noise Site.
ONQ also helps maintain The Worldwide Noise Contacts list.
Email ONQ at onq@libero.it.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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