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Whether or not pairing up with Scott Ayers was truly imperative for this recording, it certainly could not have been a fly in the ointment when considering Pain Teens back catalogue. Here Ayers' allotted role was that of final guitar augmenter for the already concocted mainframes, not so much of a full compositional collaborator, which, nonetheless, allowed him somewhat of a leeway to add flavor and color to these tracks, if not exactly change their general direction. Also generally, I'd say that "Static Migration" at first struck me to be a collection of various pieces rather than a truly conceptualized block, but which still did not exactly prevent me from enjoying the record, or most of it, at the very least. The title of the album itself might not necessarily suggest any kind of evenhanded uniformity to begin with, and its itinerary results in enough covered ground and fairly abrupt shifts from track to track. On the other hand, what uniformity these tracks do possess is very strongly manifested in their thoroughly electro-acoustic, tape and loop endowed, psychedelic fabric, along with the appertaining ritual, tribal ethnic and, of course, spatial properties. The rest is basically left to atmosphere and mood of each given piece, all of which put together might not immediately aspire to really cozy up to their neighbors yet clearly have similar DNA running through them. And that, as a whole, is what makes this disc work out when all is said and done.
Aside from that cumulative summation, it is worth adding that there are essentially two major strains running throughout the record One half of the album displays, unsurprisingly, clear signs of Neurosis-esque atmospheric pedigree of creeping, primeval menace. In this project's case, of course, guitar-based heaviness is almost fully substituted by the free reigning improv and psychedelic variables, with Ton's compositions assuming characteristics of, let's say, "kosmische" capacities. Multifarious yet deceptively laid-back portent of the opener "Unspoken Path" waves its flag to what sometimes feels like a barely restrained passage rite of "Recurring Birth" - a pretty outstanding piece of, I am tempted to say, early Coil's spiritual proportions. Meanwhile, folksy, introspective poignancy of "Origin Unknown" reaches over to the sprawling, hypnotic, ethnic-tinged mantra of the closer "Head of the Scorpion" quite nicely. In-between these signposts sit experiments less typical of the band members' usual environment. Strange tribal workout of "Rust" resonates like an off-the-wall, post-industrial take on some sort of Southeast Asian ritual procession (and perhaps even distantly echoes ethnic experiments of someone like the Sun City Girls) and, at the same time, parallels obscured, droning psych-folk homage of "Edgewood" on the opposite side of the album. "March to the Sun" is a gargantuan, overstretched jam, simultaneously cosmic and tribal. It is overloaded with exactly one intermittent, background guitar chord, which, in turn, is interspersed with washes of spaced-out effects and breaks that play off of additionally mounted improv solo guitar workouts. Within the album's environment, this piece stands out the most simply by virtue of its comparatively contrasting, in your face guitar dominating nature. Which is hardly something one could say about "Blood and Wood", though possibly some guitar based effects were, in fact, used here also. Said track is the single most abstract part of the album, venturing into the Nurse With Wound territory of musique concrete weirdness.
It seems like, almost as a rule of thumb, too often listeners instantly refer to a least bit strange and abstract recordings as experimental, which is perhaps a questionable thing to do. The content of "Static Migration" certainly qualified under that criteria alone. What's more, though - and this is what this album demonstrates so proficiently - is that the Ton members are actually so adept at and comfortable with various strains of experimental music, they ultimately make them co-exist on a close to effortless level throughout the course of a single record. Considering that these musicians' main pursuits still lie in the realm of heavy music, not to mention their early hardcore punk roots, what they managed to create here is darn impressive. Jawohl!!!