I never really was a scorn fan; while respecting creative diversity of mick harris, I was never able to get into his stuff. “imaginaria award” was interesting, casting a strange and short-lived spell on me with its mix of big beats and recognizable bassliness. but “greetings from birmingham” is different. to begin with, this album is *fun*; it has a grooving, energetic sound that emanates not the childish, happy kind of fun (after all, scorn *is* “no joke movement”), but rather a well-thought out, enjoyable fascination with sound and moods that have a groovy yet quite edgy atmosphere.
one of the main things I discovered about this album is its amazing balance of repetitive simple percussion, deep heavy basslines and a widest variety of atmospheric textures building on the background. those textures are built with atonal isolated strings, strange small noises, atmospheric washes, drones, clicks, squeals. most of those sounds, taken out of the music, would be impossible to imagine as a part of any music piece of this kind, but mick harris pulls it off with amazing skill, that at times reminds me of xingu hill or ammo.
at the end those contrasting elements is what makes this record so interesting; both themes (rhythmic and ambient) are strong in scorn’s music, therefore giving it a touch of both worlds, hypnotizing and energizing at the same time.
my favorite tracks at this moment include “still on” with very simple rhythmic formula mixed with a few melodic lines that seem to have lives of their own, flirting with small random noises. short pauses are full of building intensity. layers of frequencies and corroded noises are a building blocks behind the rhythmic structure of “part of.”
two remixes offer a further exploration of scorn’s concepts; both of them are among my favorites on the album. slow atmospheric beginning of “closedown (remix by surgeon)” splashes into a liquid groove filled with creaking distant noises, clicks and atonal sounds. towards the end it becomes unbelievably dense contrasting intricate web of small noises, meaningful pauses, random loops created by xingu hill on remix of “that don’t.” this remix emphasizes and enriches ambient textures created by scorn. a deranged phantasmagoric feel of this track blends nicely with the rest of the album.
this scorn album turned out to be unexpectedly rich and unusual. peculiar flavor of ambient with a rhythmic technoid touch. rigid and repetitive structure of the tracks turned out to be a clever foundation for exploration in textures and percussion, something that becomes obvious with a set of good headphones.