FADOHT – AXONAL FIRING SQUID
It has become somewhat of an annual tradition for New Zealand experimental noise-rock duo Flogging A Dead One Horse Town to add to their already brimming discography with MUZAI Records.
Last year saw Tim and Dave not only release two EPs, Sly Flogging and Old Scum, but also a documentary on VHS – 10 Year Flog! – to inform the slowly swelling listener-ship to the band how they began and how they got to this many releases.
Axonal Firing Squid, the latest EP from the pair, once again bears the hallmarks of the hard working band; lo-fidelity, krautrock-esque drumming and song titles to confuse even the most abstract of listeners.
But more importantly it once again pushes the band into the more experimental aspects of noise-rock.
Building upon their already vast home studios in Christchurch and Otumoetai, Axonal Firing Squid utilizes more samples, malevolent synths and eerie soundscapes. Doing their best to move away from the apparent Shellac comparisons of old and pushing the envelope even more away from the conventions one associates with noise rock.
It’s less pragmatic and more luscious. Which is perhaps a phrase more akin to other genres than the noise-rock movement (and somewhat of an unfair assessment of noise music at times.)
Lead single “Notorious Puzzles” is a nightmarish, Hitchcockian soundscape of atonal tapped guitars bedded in Dave’s once again exceptionally steady yet eclectic drumming with Tim’s even more apparent love of sound collages.
Its hypnotic opening crescendo, shamanic in it’s delivery, makes way for the powerful, angular guitar work with its overriding hook looped in the background but always apparent.
As it places the listener into a certain groove that develops over four minutes, Flogging A Dead One Horse Town lays their strong opening hand on the table. The gambit for the listener has been set; will you fold or will you call?
With the macabre EP art created alongside Mitchell Shannon, Axonal Firing Squid is not for the faint of heart (and if you’re a long-time MUZAI listener, you more than likely are aware of that) – it’s an entire package designed to unnerve listeners.
But like all great horror movies, there is that ghoulish quality amidst the visceral nature of the art.
Axonal Firing Squid is released September 17th 2021 through MUZAI Records.