Review: mockART – Men Who Lost Their Heads (Templo Sagital, Nov 5)

Somewhere down the road, years or maybe even decades after you get your first trade box full of tapes literally no one else in the world has heard or pay $15 to watch someone push a button and play a frequency only half the audience can hear, you start to lose touch with the “weird” classifier. Whatever walls were there in your brain previously just sort of crumble after a point and the relevant appreciation/enjoyment neurons clump into a single switch that flips to YES or NO. But also, if you’re doing it right, every once in a while something will come along that redefines “weird,” necessitates some sort of distinguishment from the rest because of how utterly, undeniably singular it is. Men Who Lost Their Heads is one of those. Bodies with heads not decapitated but missing lie somewhere on the sweeping slopes of the uncanny valley, so the album art immediately introduces a sense of unease and nonconsensual anonymity—which, unsurprisingly, is a fitting shadow for mockART’s unusual music to fall under. The term “post-industrial” has been used to describe many things, and yet I’m not sure if it’s ever been so accurate as now; these cave-and/or-corridor-dwelling rhythmic excursions draw occult energy from both the clipped, primitive brutality of early industrial acts like EN and SPK and the complex abstractions of the many artists those bands inspired. “Hollow Earth” unfurls as a shifty but ultimately quite conspicuous introduction to the bizarre cocktail of ritualistic trance-states, surreal suit-and-tie concrète, Faust-esque hermitic delirium, and hints of brighter (or probably just less dark) horizons that continue to surface in ever-changing cycles throughout the lengthy album. Tracks like “Behind Closed Doors” and “Some Fashion Advice” are slightly less storm-clouded meditations complete with mutter musings and fluttering flutes, and “The Earth Is Flat Now” ends things on an unexpectedly contemplative note. One of those things everyone should listen to at least once.

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