You know that when you listen to something that has a track called “Neato” that it’s going to be a flippant and nonsensical experience. Whether or not there is any fun to be had with the experience is something solely up to the listener I suppose, but fun escaped me as I pored through this collection of material from noise ensemble Phoned Nil Trio. It has a dada-esque sort of feel that is mostly postmodern and not oriented toward any particular mood or feeling throughout the release. Overall, the goal of the project seems to be to confuse and annoy the audience for the purpose of possible “aesthetic terrorism,” a perhaps sloppy euphemism for escapist and nonsensical transgression. Maybe it is simply my own personal tastes, but I found the content aspect of this confusing and long release to be somewhat lacking, instead favoring frivolity and randomness to content. There seems to be a current within the noise underground that is solely oriented toward this sort of “aesthetic,” an approach to noise that is highly based on in-jokes and personal perspective that is for the most part unappealing and incomprehensible to the casual observer.
Elements of this release are potentially appealing, but the overall effect is that of careless chaos for no real discernible purpose. Sadly, a song that features the words “Counting Crows” in the title actually samples that accursed and completely forgettable ensemble… and for what? An off-hand joke perhaps, intended to be edgy but just coming off as worthless. If they are big fans of Counting Crows, it does not convince me to agree with their position. If they are disdainful of the Counting Crows, why would they sample their music just as an insult? It’s like carrying a turd in your pocket to give to someone whom you don’t like…
“Why do you have that turd in your pocket?”
“Because I don’t like you.”
But then your pocket is still filled with a turd and the residual effect of carrying turds.
And that is pretty much what is happening with this release. I feel that it is sarcastically filled with things that these guys are disdainful of, but in actuality it just comes off as sloppy and disdainful. I don’t know what this project exists for or stands for, despite having endured this rather lengthy release. It seems to strive for a place alongside such meaningful dada-noisers as Runzelstirn and Gurgelstock, but ultimately falls prey to a sort of shallowness/meaninglessness that is a product of our modern day internet download culture, where nothing means anything and everything is a shallow and cruelly calculated joke.
Too many labels are involved with this release. Visually, the release is an atrocity that comes in the form of a seven inch record, a cassette tape, and a digital compact disc. The artwork is particularly terrible, with some hideous computer fonts accompanying some unpleasant and altogether ugly imagery. I would probably enjoy this release a lot more if it came in a blank package with no information… if nothing else this product is proof positive that the accompanying artwork can overpower any charm that may exist in the depths of an otherwise mediocre release. It took six different record labels to come together on this. “Ar B Ok Alou” seems to strive for importance with its ostentatious presentation and long playing time, but ultimately it is an exercise in grotesque futility. Over one hour of completely unenjoyable and overall aesthetically offensive music from a crew of postmodern midwesterners. They will probably post this review on their website, as some sort of postmodern joke, but do not be fooled. Avoid at all costs… just awful.
Written by: Joseph Gates
1. I Do Crime
2. A Decided Lack Of Concern For The Sores On His Feet
3. Counting Crows (There Are _ Of Them)
4. Field Recordings From 2011 Milwaukee County Un-Fair Grounds
5. Breaking And Entering And Eating
6. Moon Haters… And Bone Manglers
7. Besar La Corteza
8. He’s Going To Love Getting Tiddly. He’s Like You.
9. This Is What A Heart Attack Feels Like To A Woman
10. Boned Neutrino
11. Stoned Grill