A Journal Of The Dark Arts

Nochexxx – SNAKE LIES COILED/GAIN FUNCTION (Transcranial) album review

Nochexxx returns with more punk rave and radiophonic club music on Snake Lies Coiled/Gaint Of Function

Nochexxx Snake Lies Coiled album review

Let’s face it… formulaic electronic music is boring as sin, devoid of personality and utterly forgettable. You could spend all afternoon digging through Beatport’s Deep House charts and not remember a single artist’s name at the end of the day. And while standardization and interchangeability might be a good thing in certain areas of life, like trachiotomy tubes or carburetors, it most assuredly is not when it comes to art and creativity. 

Electronic music is a strange beast, however, in that it fulfills two instincts at once. Electronic music, for the most part, exists to make people dance. It’s functional music and, in that, it is interchangeable to a certain extent. Electronic music is still art, though, and people judge art differently than carburetors or windpipes. It’s got to have a certain amount of novelty and personality or it doesn’t move us. The formulaic and predictable fail to produce the sugar rush adrenaline burst that drives a dancefloor into frenzy. A producer must show a certain amount of personality to truly stand out from the row upon row of generic product. 

Cambridge producer Nochexxx‘s electronic music has always found that sweet spot between the functional and the experimental, conjuring avant-dancefloor beat sculptures out of rudimentary gear. This lo-fi outsider aesthetic is shown to great effect on SNAKE LIES COILED/GAIN FUNCTION, the second single on Nochexxx’s own TRANSCRANIAL imprint. 

Interestingly, SNAKE LIES COILED/GAIN FUNCTION sounds more layered and lush than Nochexxx’s breakthrough albums, 2014’s Thrusters, 2015’s Plot Defender on Type Records, and 2017’s Planet Bangs. All three of those records pledge some sonic allegiance to some of the truly alien leading lights of futuristic beat sculptors like Logos, Jlin, Actress, or Arca, who are to dance music what Seurat was to painting. The disintegration of the persistence of techno, perhaps? And while Nochexxx’s three breakthrough epiphanies may’ve been stripped down, raw, and atomized, SNAKE LIES COILED/GAIN FUNCTION is more layered and hypnotic, building into complexity until yr brain shuts down and blissful emptiness takes hold.

And while Nochexxx’s three breakthrough epiphanies may’ve been stripped down, raw, and atomized, SNAKE LIES COILED/GAIN FUNCTION is more layered and hypnotic, building into complexity until yr brain shuts down and blissful emptiness takes hold.

“SNAKE LIES COILED” kicks things off with some mnml sonar-like bleeps, until Nochexxx’s trademarked IDM-like fluttering beat comes in. New sounds creep in, one by one, gradually introduced over the span of “SNAKE LIES COILED”‘s 7:49 runtime. While the track builds and builds, it never becomes over-busy or cluttered. The increasing density brings some interesting momentum to the affair as well, letting fullness take the place of velocity. This is not the sound of a forward thrust, a blind optimistic rush towards the future. This is the sound of evolution, like a cybernetic petri dish or some ancient Mesopotamian civilization as observed by interstellar satellites. 

“GAIN OF FUNCTION” starts off spare, as well, but quickly moves towards more recognizable club fare. Acid-like sequencers bring a metronomic pulse and flickering, strobing hypnosis, until a low-slung fuzz bassline creeps in, bringing things to a sedate frenzy. Don’t let its subdued surface deceive you, though. “GAIN OF FUNCTION” is a straight-up banger, perfect for bringing the right kind of dancefloor into an eyes closed/head down techno epiphany. 

With minimal electronic music like this, so much of its success relies on the sounds themselves. Every element of these 18 minutes is polished to gleaming perfection, revealing Nochexxx to be quite the jeweler of rarefied sine and square waves. Much of the rest has to deal with instincts, and Nochexxx is a genius at that, as well. Elements creep and crawl in at unexpected times, giving SNAKE LIES COILED/GAIN FUNCTION the feeling of watching some micro civilization in some forest glen, with knights flying on the backs of dragonflies while neon millipedes smuggle drugs from foxhole to warren. 

SNAKE LIES COILED/GAIN FUNCTION is the second installment thus far on Nochexxx’s TRANSCRANIAL imprint. If he keeps it up, we might all attain enlightenment by the time he gets to #12.




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