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COH - Electric Electric

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Artist: COH

Album: Electric Electric

Label: Mego

Review date: Dec. 1, 2003

In South Korea, a simple radio can provide one with an endless source of extreme frequency manipulation, looping distortion, and reprocessed noise that spans from pink to white – the nonstop jamming of North Korea’s radio frequencies by the powers that be in the South. Further modulational anarchy is assured when the residual effects of the reverse process (North jamming South) leak onto the airwaves. I had never heard anything that could compare until I picked up Panasonic’s Osasto EP. Not only were they able to replicate the electronic chaos emanating from the radio, they even succeeded in conveying the underlying threatening nature of the source. Unfortunately, Pan Sonic moved on to different terrain long ago, leaving behind a void that has remained unfilled until the arrival of a Russian gentleman by the name of Ivan Pavlov.

Pavlov’s COH project has received quite an exuberant amount of hype amongst electronic music circles by straddling the concealed thin lines between experimentalists (collaborating with the godheads of Coil), academia and dancefloor. Electric Electric blends each of these elements until they are unrecognizable and defines its experimentalism in the purest “white lab coat” sense of the term. Though clinical in nature, COH retains a level of warmth to its sound that was wholeheartedly absent in the early works of Vaino & Co., and use it to supplement their tracks with a personalized sense of impending danger.

The A side of Electric Electric works nicely at either 33 or 45 rpm, depending on the level of intensity you’d like to experience. At 33 rpm, the loping ultra-minimal pulse of “Run Doggy Run” becomes a sensual mantra, with subtle changes in the balance providing further stimuli. 45 rpm begets a cerebral listen, as the backwards bird calls, scrambled television frequencies and pummeling beats compete for dominance.

It’s strictly 45 rpm for the flip side; the shrill tones that make up the propulsive whirlwind of “Novotel Suite Ext” could exist in no other environ. Just as the track gathers steam, its vacuum tubes overload with distortion, throwing it temporarily into disarray until the proper nerves are stimulated for resuscitation. “Quadrate Fur Loplop@” breaks the rhythmic monotony with a dirty, grinding bassline from the south of Miami that attracts random bits of melody for its sustenance, before suddenly dropping off into an empty space where echoes provide all further instruction.

Hopefully a taste of a Mego full-length to come, the Electric Electric admirably furthers Pavlov’s sonic agenda.

By Everett Jang Perdue

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