"Protoplasmic" is an exercise in radical avant-noise created in real-time with processing and treatment. Built around electric guitars, electronics, free-form vocals, and saxophone on one tune, generally without discernible rhythm, and completely devoid of any sort of traditional sense of melody, it is positioned on the outer-edge of what can be considered music. Think of it as a harsh disturbing soundtrack of collage and extreme musique-concrete designed to accompany the most nightmarish of Kafka's oppressive political stories.
The most coherent moments suggest nods to Frippish dark soundscapes, and sometimes Merzbow's noise-as-art, but all-too frequently the improvised compositions wander into noodling and lose forward momentum. So perhaps half of this is interesting, while half of it is frustrating. The problem is that both POVs exist in pretty much every composition. Had this all been revisited and edited it might be worth continued play, but three times was enough for me. Of course, that is perhaps the point of such avant-noise explorations. They are not meant for even the casual dabbler into avant-garde music; they are to be experienced, even endured, studied, and thought-over -- recursively used as tools for triggering further visits into avant-noise -- but not necessarily ever enjoyed.
So call "Protoplasmic" a challenging sonic experiment for those adventurers wanting to see if they can open the "Hellraiser" puzzle without getting snared. It's hard to digest, not easy to forget, and certainly loaded with ambition to journey into the danger zone. It will also serve as a mighty effective tool for clearing the house of guests that won't leave when the groovy party is over.
Who would like this?
Musique-concrete and dark ambient connoisseurs; those already deeply into the avant-noise and experimental squall-music scene.
Who would not like it?
Pretty much any listener that wants some pretense of melody and compositional structure in music.
Reviewed by Steven Davies-Morris on February 25th, 2010