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Disen Gage - Nature CD (album) cover


Disen Gage


Eclectic Prog

3.16 | 16 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars The latest-to-date curveball by the unpredictable Russian band Disen Gage is even more obscure than their 2017 live-in-the-science-lab soundtrack "Hybrid State", and easily earns my vote as the most difficult album of the year. But like all challenging music the effort needed to appreciate it makes the rewards more gratifying...especially to masochists.

This is a group (now just a duo) willing to sever all ties to conventional music-making and embrace more dangerous creative impulses: musique concrete, industrial noise, and all the environmental dissonance of their troubled homeland. The two remaining Disen Gagers - Konstantin Mochalov and Anton Efimov - are both listed as guitarists, but you'd be hard-pressed to hear anything resembling a traditional guitar anywhere over the album's three long sound-assemblies (you won't, under any circumstance, confuse them with 'songs').

The album opens with a shocking burst of interplanetary noise: the real thing, using documentary tapes from (according to the band) Iowa astronomers "converting strange signals coming from the orbit of Jupiter into audible sound palettes". Did they spot a mysterious black monolith circling the planet as well? The sense of cosmic disorientation would be no less startling...

The atonal cacophony lasts for 16+ minutes, at one point briefly incorporating background snippets of actual music (I hear a saxophone..!), credited to a "Zen Porno rock-band recorded in the vicinity of Jupiter" but possibly an outtake from an earlier Disen Gage session, back when the band was a legitimate group, performing on real musical instruments.

Next up is "Trains": a collage of metal-on-metal ambience recorded after hours at a Moscow railway station, the "fascinating sonic roulades emitted by the wagons" looped into a semblance of rhythm. There's really no comparison, but the harsh yet hypnotic effect recalls the uneasy slumber of Tangerine Dream's proto-ambient "Zeit", reduced to its elemental brain-wave basics.

"Animals" then combines the two preceding soundscapes into an unruly zoological sh!t-show, with a storm of bestial noises plundered from the natural world: check out the long, tongue-in-cheek guest list for the track. I'm reminded of something the early Residents might have spliced together, in their pre-eyeball mask least until it erupts suddenly into a raucous, Post-Everything rock loop, so over the top (when the wolves begin howling) that it's hard not to respond with astonished laughter.

In all, it's a unique and oddly compelling achievement, requiring yet another defense of the often misunderstood two-star ProgArchives grade. If five full stars acknowledge an essential masterpiece, two stars must be the connoisseur's rating: not a measure of relative quality, but a mark of distinction for albums aimed strictly at aficionados.

Neu!mann | 2/5 |


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