Review: Practical Uses for Worms – 电指挥官过渡 (self-released, Oct 18)

What is there to even say about 电指挥官过渡  (Electric Commander Transition)? Should I focus on enticing anyone who reads this to listen to it, or to ward them away entirely? Can one become a more complete person by burrowing into this relatively new genre that seems to finally be the absolute nadir of conventional musicality in an experimental context (“field recordings” from <20-view Youtube videos, random text-to-speech readouts, the most utterly unappetizing digital excavations possible), or is it just a fast-track to degeneracy? If you’re here, though, you probably gave up asking those questions a long time ago, so I suppose all I can do is give my fellow weirdos an idea of what you’re getting into. This seems to be the most official full-length so far from recently initiated Wilmington, DE project Practical Uses for Worms apart from August’s The Plastic Sutra (perhaps an unintentional companion for Daphne X’s upcoming The Plumb Sutra??), and is built on mangled, low-fidelity samples and extracts of voices speaking in both Mandarin and English—though the approach, to me, is a distinctly modern one, the low sample rates and bit-chopping echo the golden age of the beloved label. The one intelligible piece of source material seems to be an audiobook or other sort of reading of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, which crops up in “M1rr0r Cable CommAnder Sun Tzu mix,” but overall the short release seems to stake much of its intrigue on the obscurity of its origins. This is the internet-age equivalent of a delirious, surreal found-tape collage, as a whole rising above and becoming, in a way, distinct from its many disparate, individual parts, and while our fascination with the mysteries and resonances of physical objects, the intangible labyrinth of the net only becomes more complex and enigmatic as it continues to grow each and every day—how can one not stick a curious hand into the muck?