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4.04 | 4 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars The 2000s have been delivering an explosive abundance of nerdy math rockers offering up tasty dishes of off-kilter time signature staccato packed avant-prog in full heavy distorted regalia blurring the lines between noise rock, metal, prog, zeuhl and beyond. French math rockers ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) are just one of many from this fertile avant-rich country with this quartet emerging from the Rhône-Alpes region. While these guys have recently joined forces with fellow countrymen PoiL to create the lovable but terrifying supergroup PiNioL, things took off in 2010 with their 1st self-titled debut ni (also emphatically NOT capitalized). Yes, the 1st part of the statement means that they indeed had a 2nd EP titled ni (emphatically NOT capitalized)a in 2012. Orthodoxy is just not a part of their DNA apparently.

EP #1 is a collection of four tracks that are in excellent introduction to the noisy chaotic soundscapes that ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) dish out in punishing doses except they have this underlying current of logic that somehow keeps it in the fun zone. Yeah, this is not for the faint of heart but there's something really grounding beneath the frenetic noisy abundance of angular dissonance, distorted bombast and explosive start / stop staccato abuse. Under it all revolves a surprisingly catchy funk bass groove that allows the trade off of soaring guitar riffs, mutilated riffs and jazzy drum patterns to sail away smoothly not to mention the unexpected breaks into psychedelic dreamy passages that emerge from nowhere that are fortified with nerdy math rock stop / start staccato aggressiveness.

While noise rock can vary in degrees of noisiness, ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) manage to pull off some brilliant circus act juggling by not only keeping the musical elements well balanced in a tightrope act of tension, chaos and accessibility. Purely instrumental, these four guys dish out well constructed compositions that utilize all the noise rock and avant-prog check list elements but add a pacifying sophistication to smooth it all out. Perhaps it's the polished production that allows every instrument to find its niche within the chaosphere or perhaps it's just the skill of the musicians to weave their musical tapestry into a fine high-art craft but something works quite well here. With this much noisy chaos, the album is unrelenting and the short running time suits it well. EP #1 is a keeper.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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