Hangedup are one of the most technically proficient bands that I’ve come across in months. Through their unique brand of menacing prog the duo create a nervous air until the instruments slowly build to points of unfathomable tension. Many times while listening to this disc I found myself immobilized by the strange way in which Eric Craven (sticks) and Geneviève Heistek (bows) force dissimilar patterns together—you are almost forced to listen attentively. Throughout most of Clatter for Control their instruments meet somewhere between melody and chaos, even sometimes stumbling into sections of strange ambience (“Kick-Back-Hub”).
Opener “Klang Klang” is made up of distinct sections but at times the song sounds as if it is about to burst at the seams. As frenetic strings race the drum kit bangs out a crateful melody; think Ruins meets a classically trained string musician. On “Alarm,” the albums most dread inducing track, light drum tapping leads into super slow bowing. Light noise (the sound of strings being rubbed) is added as the now very urgent sounding bowing continues. Near the end of the track high pitched notes create that alarm effect but throughout most of the song it feels as if you have been frozen in time right before a Mack truck smashes into you, horn blaring and all. The whole album is very menacing in a ‘not quite time to run’ sort of way. “A Different Kind Of Function” conjures up images of watching an oppositional army being deployed onto one’s homeland while perched safely atop some mountain cliff; a sick feeling of helplessness. I really think that’s what Hangedup were aiming for here and they have achieved admirably. Spatiality is important to the compositions of these songs, and much like the album that Jesu released earlier this year, time and space are dutifully considered, before sound and texture. But always there remains the feeling that one is galloping foreword.
It is difficult to make an album that is instrumental while at the same time remaining political. Hangedup weave in and out of contrast and repetition and this hints at themes of oppression and futility. Clatter for Control is the sound of functioning within an infrastructure, be it part of a political or economical machine. There are moments of relief, such as the temporary village dance of “Go Let’s Go,” but most of the time the band is left testing the limits before chaos—the limits that they are allowed to reach. Of course, I might be reading too much into it and they may just be a Lightning Bolt for the classically trained. Either way, I say it’s a good thing.
- Andrew Iliadis