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Sudden Infant - Radiorgasm

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Artist: Sudden Infant

Album: Radiorgasm

Label: Blossoming Noise

Review date: Jul. 12, 2006

Sudden Infant, the umbrella name under which Joke Lanz has done a considerable amount of his work, is slightly less clear-cut than his contemporaries in the Schimpfluch Gruppe. While Joke has very plainly stated an interest in returning to some type of central primitive state, he manages to leave himself quite a bit of leeway compared to his more rigidly-conceptual counterparts. The Viennese Aktionist-inspired theatrics of his peer Rudolf E.ber (both halves of Runzelstirn and Gurgelstock) come across with an extreme precision, giving a sense of psychological dynamism in a format similar to a radioplay. Dave Phillips deals very heavily with the polemical status of noise-making, chosing to incoporate a propagandistic film about the meat industry and social control in the past few years. Sudden Infant, however, is slightly less calculated, perhaps for the better.

Inspired by the birth of his son, strangely enough, Joke possesed by a skewed and tortured take on infantalism, as partially exemplified on Radiorgasm, the first LP released under the Sudden Infant moniker in 1991, now newly reissued.

Like his Schimpfluch counterparts, there is an emphasis here on physical gesture. Sounds are pushed, punched and squished underfoot. Rather than focusing on the more frequently-exploited ominous and overtly antagonistic qualities of extreme noise, Radiorgasm is distinctly non-mysterious and non-sinister. It still has blood and urine, fractured by slaphappy and ecstatic cut-ups, yet here, the end result is more absurdist than agonized. It is a 40-minute temper tantrum, with Lanz conveniently ignoring the fact that even babies are quiet sometimes.

The re-release is partially striking as a historical document; presumably, like his son, now already 15 years old. While the culture surrounding noise has become more accepting, resulting in festivals, tours, and, of course, reissues, the music itself has become the territory of small and subtle changes, rather than transgressive blasts of dissent. Radiorgasm is notable for its nuance and personality, more than any sort of radicalism or formal deconstruction. The Schimpfluch Gruppe have been extremely expansive in terms of how multiple aspects of the human psyche can be incorporated into the category of noise music; and in this line of thought, Radiorgasm manages to navigate the gross, the playful and the malevolent with a unique candor.

By Matt Wellins

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