The Boston-area experimental group Consumer perform a hypnotic, seemingly continuously evolving mixture of intense sludgy noise rock, straightforward noisy soundscape compositions, and more, and all of these elements come together quite beautifully on their new album In Computers, officially available October 25 via The Flenser. The cohesive piece feels like it’s telling a story of coming out on the other side of grinding societal gears. It’s like a sonic equivalent of the experience of floating around untethered as if in space, but rather than finding peace like cliches might suggest, to keep breathing you’ve got to continuously hit incoming collections of vestiges of human civilization out of the way. It’s quite an experience — an adventure into our own personal great unknown that we’ve made for ourselves, accessible from right here planted firmly in the midst of the capitalist system.
The first three tracks pack some of the most direct intensity on In Computers — standout song (and track two) “Massive Subsidies,” for instance, spends minutes circulating around a relentless march of blast after blast of that sludgy noise rock before the blasts get even more intense towards the end. Experiencing the impending dystopia gets even more real thanks to the subtly unsettling, ruthlessly consumption-oriented lyrics, like the swaggering refrain on that song: “Let’s fill up this container!” The music feels like it’s soundtracking one of those stories where a mob descends on some precious home, ripping it to shreds all in the name of vengeful consumption.
The last three tracks on In Computers comprise a free-flowing, entirely instrumental composition of ambiance and more direct harsh noise that feels like the soundtrack to floating not just untethered but completely off into the vaguely menacing abyss we’ve created for ourselves. Throughout that segment, the undercurrent of noise remains firmly in place even as the sounds on top of that cacophony change. By part three, the whole mixture has (again) turned somewhat somber, and repeated blasts of completely manic glitches pop up over and over again. Those “glitches” feel like they’re a defining point of where these threads come together. The “point” of this story is the running into the wall at the end.
The band includes some well-known names in the experimental post-punk etc. space, including Tim Macuga from Have a Nice Life and Have a Nice Life’s live members Myke Cameron on bass, Rich Otero on drums, synths, and programming, and Joe Streeter on guitar and handling engineering.
Listen to some below: