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Client/Server - End of Client/Server

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Artist: Client/Server

Album: End of Client/Server

Label: Three Lonely Kaiju

Review date: Mar. 31, 2002

Client/Server is dead. Long live Client/Server.

Tom Guttadauro and Jennifer Deforge decided to fast-forward a bit and record an endpiece to what will probably be a storied, if underground, career. The drone/improv duo from Cambridge, Mass., now have a debut (2001’s self-titled) and a finale under their proverbial belt -- quite the output for a 15-month-old band. Hopefully the sense of accomplishment won’t keep the group from revisiting middle-age.

Guttadauro and Deforge deserve credit. Client/Server’s second full-length, End of Client/Server, would be an excellent note on which to bow out, kind of like Ted Williams’s 521st home run or the final scene of The Vanishing (Dutch Version, not the American mockery). End of… captures the beauty, anguish, fury, and eventual peace of the last breath, all without speaking a word. While their debut LP utilized a handful of vocal samples, End of… focuses more on Deforges’ sonic manipulation and Guttadauro’s ambient guitar phrases and the effect is an unspoken elegy for a forsaken future.

Much of the music on End of… was composed on the road during screenings of Hideaki Anno’s End of Evangelion, a Japanese anime film that is immensely popular in Japan, but is little known in the United States. The film depicts, among other things, the end of a sci-fi civilization and the rebirth of the human race. The apocalyptic film’s resonance rubbed off on Client/Server, which started to improv a score for the film during concerts. After the tour, the two sat down and constructed songs from their concert recordings and the result improves upon their debut, in that End of… unfolds with a clear objective in mind.

The album opens with “9v,” computer bleeps echoing into the emptiness. Guttadauro’s floating guitar fades in and adds to the zero gravity feel. Much of Client/Server’s portfolio explores the effect of prolonged guitar repetition and “9v” is no different, as Gattadauro strums patiently over Deforge’s analog hiss and hard drive, in no hurry to get anywhere. The outer space utterance is a peaceful beginning to End of… and gives little clue of the dissonance in the near future.

Like End of Evangelion, the album soon takes on a much darker tone. “1 Crayon” appears at first to traverse the same feel as the opening track, until Deforge explodes the guitar calm into white noise, turning a peaceful walk in countryside into a battlefield of shattered dreams and speakers. The album continues along these lines, with analog loops at the forefront, apparently replicating the carnage in Evangelion. “Two Women’s” assault on the ears never nears Merzbow intensity, but its lo-fi blast is light years away from the album’s opening indifference.

While soft-LOUD song structure is anything but novel, Client/Server’s dichotomy avoids the formulaic pitfalls of others; the duo refrains from building up and tearing down sounds and instead explores different frequencies to the fullest before changing speeds.

End of Evangelion ends with the human race reduced to two lovers on a beach and Client/Server’s serene ending does Hideaki Anno’s post-apocalyptic image justice. The album’s finale “Seven Stars” returns to the anechoic chamber and is an absolutely sublime conclusion, with Guttadauro’s guitar turned down to 1. Barely audible strums momentarily rise above the silence before rescinding to an almost post-coital bliss. One can only hope our passing will be this euphoric.

By Otis Hart

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