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6LA8 - The Moderate Picture CD (album) cover

THE MODERATE PICTURE

6LA8

 

Progressive Electronic

3.67 | 7 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars The Islamic Republic of Pakistan hardly comes to mind when you think about regions of the world that export some bizarre and strange experimental music that falls into the unclassifiable zone but despite existing in a nation that has a severe shortage of record labels, concert venues and any sort of promotion at all, the fiery passion of underground artists has taken flight in the new era of DIY ethos and good internet connections. The Karachi based duo of Taimur Mazhar Sheikh and Omer Asim have proven that where there's a will, there's a way and if you crank it out, someone will pay, well hopefully. The true case is that together these guys have pumped out several releases under the guise of 6LA8 and while the moniker of this act may resemble some random license plate numbers of a severely underpopulated US state, the musical avant-garde weirdness that these guys create is more like something you'd encounter in an entirely different world.

I've seen this artist's name floating around for years and admittedly daunted by the large discography which begins with the whopping 4-CD debut 'In Wake Of A Dying Nation' which takes lengthy first releases to a ridiculously bloated time consuming level. For my first dip into this Karachi based musical phenomenon, i've decided to skip over to what i believe is the second release but this artist is somewhat obscure, has released a gazillion freebie albums on its Bandcamp site and databases all differ in which album came in which order. So let's just say that this is one of the earlier albums and i have no friggin idea in how it relates to anything. Karachi may be the nation's largest city with a population of over 14 million making it also one of the larger cities of the entire planet but can you name even one musical artist who has emerged from this thriving coastal metropolis? I couldn't so it's nice to finally hear an artist other than the famous Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan from this sixth most populous nation in the world.

6LA8 is a hard act to describe but seems to revolve around a stealthy mix of ambient atmospheres, drones, zest filled electronica and the cyclical loops of post-rock. Like many artists from less than supportive regions fo the world, 6LA8 seems to channel the frustrations of the harsh realities of life into sublime expressions through sound and on my first taste of its work on THE MODERATE PICTURE, i can almost taste the bleakness of artistic opportunities in a region of the world that frowns on anything outside the established paradigm of theological traditions. Often such repression leads to a creative explosiveness unparalleled and it seems with over 21 releases 6LA8 is finding the proper venue to expel its rage and instead engage the world in the dreamy and often nightmarish electronica fueled sounds that pour out from each and every track. THE MODERATE PICTURE provides a diverse and complex glimpse of the Pakistani world of avant-garde with an interesting array of 14 tracks.

Tracks range from the static fueled noise of 'Guitar Radio' which seems like something out of the Faust playbook but also evokes a clear fascination with Godspeed! You Black Emperor as guitar riffs ooze by in cyclical loops as field sampled sounds and random dialogue emerge from the din. There is a fondness for arhythmic counterpoints and sound collages that juxtapose semi-musical meanderings with dissonant sprinklings of electronic generated timbres and inter-dimensional freakery. Some tracks like 'Peel' offer rock guitar and drums but stick to the spoken word plus noise playbook. Other tracks like 'Drunkards & Soul' focus on a bass groove and a bleak industrial feel as if Einst'rzende Neubauten had overdosed on codeine and is struggling to stay awake. Other throwaway tracks like 'Meat Freestyle' seem to dwell on a short repetitive drum machine loop with only a few freaky oscillations of timbres to give it any life.

While there are progressive meanderings that are more rooted in post-rock such as the 3-part menagerie-trois of 'Vice Versa / The Impolite Corpse / Surge' as well as the 9.5 minute closing title track, personally i find the more catchy electro-pop tracks like 'Celeplode' and 'Pretty' to be the most compelling as they have some energetic drive and offer the most satisfying melodies that are memorable. Overall this release by 6LA8 is an interesting introduction to this Pakistani artist's bizarre world and has definitely allowed me to catch the bug that will surely lead me to further investigations. THE MODERATE PICTURE is chock full of nice disparate sounding tracks that work well together however the album does come off as a little random and sounds like these guys basically release everything they record with little consideration for quality control.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |

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