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Early experimentations - 69%

UCTYKAH, September 11th, 2009

Being an admirer of Neurosis (how can you not be?), I never really followed their experimental alter-ego. Then I remembered that I had TON's very first release lying around for years, so I went for it.

Album's centerpiece is the opening untitled little soundscape of a whopping 25 minute length, which is half the album right there, and the only real reason to get a hold of this disc. You have here a prolonged and repetitious, psychedelic and hypnotic sound collage that unfolds freely and unhurriedly, writhing and undergoing changes, adding sounds to its mantric flow - all analog, slowly building and rebuilding its textural mosaic. Droning ambience, treated field recordings, synth guitar, sparse tribal percussion, menacing keyboard and synthesizer sounds that are at times orchestral and elsewhere would turn into spaced-out, psychedelic effects, noises and frequencies.

The track effectively starts off with a combination of tribal percussion (aztec drum, according to the liner notes) and interchangeable and dynamic scraps of assorted static and noises. It fades away about four minutes in to slowly make a transition to the next segment, which finally takes shape around the seven minute mark. A couple of interwoven droning streams flow slowly and heavily, embellished with spacey, manipulated noise and brooding, organ-like keyboard line. At thirteen minute mark, the sounds again fundamentally reshape themselves. Droning streams transmogrify into one pulsating line, keyboards become more orchestrated with an apparent neo-classical bent, while static noise layers get constantly tweaked in search of new dimensions and frequencies. At seventeen minutes, all orchestration is stripped down for a minimalist effect. Pulsating droning settles down to a relatively subtle undercurrent, tribal percussion reappears but only for a short period of time, psychedelic space noises and strange keyboard sounds eventually come forth like waves, ascending and descending as if perpetually chasing the main rhythmic beat. When the clock passes the twenty three minute running time, ascending chiming sounds enter then fade away to provide the final exit flood gates.

Remaining pieces are considerably less interesting even if they employ some of the similar ideas (like on the last track "Fire"). They might be of some interest nonetheless, because most of them (two to four) were recoded live. The group members seem comfortable enough with their arsenal of sounds. However, all tracks clock in at around five minute length and do not possess enough time to unfold and develop into something grand, even if noise enthusiasts might still find some interesting textures there too. The third track ("Air") even crosses a little into the power electronics territory while starting out. But I would really single out only track four ("Earth") for its almost old-school industrial shenanigans and a closing tribal drum outburst. Also, second track ("Water") ends itself with the same melody, albeit with a different arrangement, that kicks off "Aeon" off of "Through Silver In Blood". In fact, this track's noisy fabric is similar enough to the electronic interludes used on that album.

"Rebegin" is not fundamentally different from plethora of industrial and electro-acoustic merchants working the field, but it is still a recommended, due to the first track, yet far from mandatory, listening to those NEUROSIS aficionados who wish to familiarize themselves with another side of the band. Some patience is required as well. I am not familiar with TON's subsequent releases but will assume that they are on the more intricate and accomplished side.