Comparisons are odious, but what the hell are you gonna do? Ramleh is one of those bands who has no business being unknown to the ears of experimental music fans. What I mean to say is, Ramleh have been releasing music for 35 years, all of it great and unique unto itself and mostly unheard. Their willful obscurity is maintained by little to no info available for each release, no advertising and just a general disdain for the music listening audience in general.
This of course matches the music perfectly. If you want to hold this black flower in your hand, you'll have to go out and find it, cuz it isn’t going to just up and jump into your bouquet...
If you are familiar with Ramleh's oeuvre (even if you are not), the new release Circular Time is absolutely crucial and intriguing. It is unlike any of their previous releases in many ways... melodies, riffs and HOOKS! Singing! I guess there was singing on past releases, "Say Fuck" comes to mind, but this is something new.
"The Tower," the fifth cut on Circular Time has a "catchy beat," "melodic vocals," and assonant-ish "guitar riffs"… but in the sticky perverse hands of Ramleh it becomes another tentacle of the beast... another ugly way to unbutton the pants of an unwary listener.
As to odious comparisons—and I only include this to lure interested but uninitiated ear—I think of Can or of High Rise, but with the uglier intentions of Skullflower (who are brother delinquents in this lonely gang). There is a nod to Krautrock, but with the chill of modern equipment and the glare of Darth Vader. My four year old said "I like this, it sounds like Minecraft"... his way of interpreting the cold malignancy of empty technology in the hands of creeps!
It's a big racket, it's aggressive... it's very long (around 2 hours) and beautifully hopeless. There are more "conventional" moments than in past releases, which I find pleasantly seductive.
Imagine you are in front at a very loud gig... and your mind drifts... and you're not there at all... your mind drifts and you think about a cold unfriendly beach... but then the shooting starts...
Addendum: I hadn't seen the packaging at the time this review was written. It matches the music and its general affect beautifully. Two discs in a fold-out package that really packs a smash to the face. Reminiscent of Philip Best's collages (which were used previously) but with a hi-tech sheen that manages to compound the sickening thrust of the whole. Perfect. [Crucial Blast]
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