Robot vs. Rabbit - "Treejumper, Late Afternoon" (self-released 2000, 3" CDR EP)
Robot vs. Rabbit/Aluminum Noise split CDR (self-released 2000)
From Aural Innovations #17 (September 2001)
Robot vs. Rabbit return with two releases, one a 20 minute 3" CDR, and the other as part of a split CD with Aluminum Noise. The band is still the trio of Garrett Gentry on bass and drums, Tim Killough on guitar and bass, and Mark Hepp on guitar and bass. The 3" includes two tracks. "Treejumper, Late Afternoon" is a dark, ambient drone piece with waves of low-key noise, flying saucer tones, and eerie howling efx. A nice soundscape track. The journey continues, but just a bit on the harsher side, on the 15 minute "Outside It's Cold". Spacey bubbling and gurgling electronics accompany the noise and drones. There's also weird samples and efx'd voices. Some remind me a bit of early Residents, others sound like they're in Russian, and various other conversations take place. The wildest part is at the end when a jazzy lounge sax jams along with the drones. Dig it.
On the split CDR, Robot vs. Rabbit kick out heaping portions of the molten lo-fi noise psych we first heard when we reviewed them in AI #16. They've got three tracks, two in the under 10-minute range, and one about 22 minutes. There's loads of thudding Hawkwind-ish bass lines in the shorter tunes which are closer in style to jamming Krautrocking space with a heavy noise element. The 22-minute "Trance 29" is also on the Robot vs. Rabbit CD I reviewed last issue. It's more of an avant-garde mechanical noisey psych drone fest that explores the darker and drearier realms of the universe. The music drones on ad nauseam, though the atmosphere it creates is pretty frightening so I give the band credit for inducing an emotional effect. Great possibilities here for a sci fi soundtrack, but as far as listening my overall my opinion is the same as before that there's not enough happening to justify it's length. But the shorter tracks include some pretty good jams. If you haven't heard Robot vs. Rabbit check out the 3" for a strong introduction and then move on from there.
Aluminum Noise is the duo of Nathan Hobbs and Jason Crumer on electronics and possibly guitar too. Their first three minute track consists of the harshest of brain piercing noise rolling across a sonic landscape causing me to turn the volume way down. (This is tough stuff for headphones.) So just when I'm thinking that Aluminum Noise are going to be about nothing but noise... the lengthy "Circle Of Life" begins, and a pleasant wave of melodic semi-drone replaces the harshness like a rainbow and sunshine following a storm. But the wind soon kicks up again and the whole atmosphere really does communicate the feeling that there's a sound blizzard of sonic proportions going on outside my window (or in this case in my headphones). What I enjoyed about this 27 track is that it's continually evolving, and Aluminum Noise fluidly shift the mood between pleasing space ambience and harsh intensity, and often mix the two, creating an interesting effect. It's like a story is unfolding. Sure, there were some less than exciting moments, but keeping a listeners attention for nearly 30 minutes with this kind of music is always a challenge and these guys have done of good job of keeping the ideas flowing and not just droning on with the same simple theme throughout. I'd like to hear more from Aluminum Noise.
For more information you can visit the Robot vs. Rabbit web site at:
Contact via snail mail c/o RVRHQ; Pob 658; Kannapolis, NC 28082-0658.
Visit the Aluminum Noise web site at: http://www.aluminumnoise.com.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz