Aufgehoben Khora Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

This is music that seizes you by the collar, screams in your face and doesn't let you...

Tim Nelson 2008

The title of Aufgehoben's fifth album is a term from Plato, meaning a space in which all forms are held that is neither being nor non-being. If it seems unlikely that the ancient Greek had this extreme aural enema in mind when he coined the term, then these British noise-rockers still provide an uncompromising answer as to what might have preceded the big bang.

Khora is a sister-release to 2006's Messidor, in that much of the editing on both was done simultaneously, and it is Aufgehoben's quality control that distinguishes them from the hordes of other Krautrock and Japrock-inspired outfits. The album was actually recorded in 2005, but refined over the following three years, if refined is the right word for the vocal-free screeching feedback, massive distortion and industrial percussion that characterize the four tracks.

Track one, Ignorance Oblivion Contempt, is a concentrated sample of what is to follow, with its mix of twin-channel guitar and electronics, two-drummer attack and static meltdown. It's also extremely loud, and it is Aufgehoben's ability to combine overwhelming volume with meticulous sonic detail that is perhaps their most impressive quality. The second track, Annex Organon uses a mic'd-up shopping cart, brick and stone and is relatively restrained (the keyword being 'relative'), but A Bastard Reasoning is another apocalypse of brutal percussion and vicious electronics that briefly subsides before leading into the stand-out final track, Jederfursich. Loosely translated as Every Man For Himself, the twenty-eight minute piece is a series of howling, thunderous peaks endlessly collapsing in on themselves until the tape runs out.

It would be foolish to pretend that Khora doesn't have its alienating and even nauseating qualities, but this is still musical experimentation that repays close attention, although it might be more truthful to say that this is music that seizes you by the collar, screams in your face and doesn't let you go until it's done.

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