» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Spectral Sound

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

December 1, 2005
Rigor mortis could be in full effect, but a dead cold, stiffened foot would still find a way to tap, and a rigid neck would nod when Suckfish is being played. You could hate dance music altogether but will find your hips naturally swaying back and forth, your shoulders shimmying to and fro. It is almost impossible to stay motionless while Audion goes off throughout eleven tracks on this raunchy, punchy, never-ending beat fest.

Audion is the techno/dance moniker of Spectral Sound artist Matthew Dear, another extension that shows how diverse and commanding the DJ is when letting loose with a synth and some recording gear; not only is Dear well-rounded, he is also consistently effective in what he does. When appearing as his given name, False, Jabberjaw or Audion, there is always a level of exactness that precedes his characteristic undeniable hooks and savvy-thump beats. Suckfish blows up Dear's stock another notch.

Whereas under his namesake Dear makes song-formulated techno compositions (patterns, verses, choruses and vocal melodies), Audion shows a distinct prowess in experimental techno/club-dance music and seems to have little divergent form. The essential components are a four-on-the-floor booming bass drum as tempo kicker, a chirping/oscillating essence of some sort (sometimes an effected robot voice, or a metallic synth note repeated) and the vacuum-tight snare place keeper.

When one focuses more closely on the mixes it becomes clear as to why the music is so attractive. If you turn up the volume loud or listen through studio headphones, you can hear nearly transparent noises that create differences in an otherwise repetitive song style. Much of the production value works behind the strength and presence of the initially laid elements; if a song has a crappy bass line or an effect doesn't sound good, the entire composition is thrown off. Throughout the course of these tracks, very little changes as far as general songwriting theory is considered. Understand that in this style of music chord changes are not a big thing but progression is vital. Most variations and adjustments are a product of fluctuating sound levels or the punch-in/-out of certain static sounds: a dancing note sequence will appear out of nowhere and oscillate quickly between three notes for 16 patterns and then just as rapidly disappear.

Audion's drums are effective as layered parts. The first song, "Vegetables," begins with sonic synth tears leading a set of cascading dark synth chords and the guiding light a quiet, steady bass drum pattern approaching across the horizon. A white noise-inflicted snare sound begins to appear and defines the meter that the track will follow. Every noise surrounding this beat soon becomes melodically rhythmic, popping synth pings or tiny percussive scratches in between bass drum and snare parts (adding to a hi-hat danceable pattern).

Audion creates around the theory of process, rather than stuck in a formulated pattern way of thinking. "Vegetables" starts with a two-note repetitive synth part and there is really no melody. At the two and a half minute mark, Dear heavily lays on the bass and snare electronic sounds and every sound thereafter is a subtle experimentation - an add-on or take-off from the sequence before it. Whether a nasally swell, robotic tube distortion or a mechanical-sounding sliding door sound, everything moves the mix into a different direction.

One of the greatest edges of Suckfish is how sexually tongue-in-cheek it is. Song titles are pretty blatant stabs at the topic - "Your Place or Mine", "Titty Fuck", "Kisses", "Taut", "Rubber", "The Pong", "Just Fucking" - even though the horned-up texture of each track makes descriptions unnecessary. In particular, "Titty Fuck," "Wield" and "Rubber" are exceptional mixes, appealing in their own unique ways. Audion can make you laugh with his focused topic matter or groove with uncontrollable catchiness. Either way, Suckfish is a captivating release from start to finish.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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