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Monstre
Monstre
Sucre3
Alien8

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This CD makes me happy. Unless you're, like, a dork or something, it will make you happy too. Alien8 is known for their hardcore noise monster releases by folks like Merzbow and Francisco Lopez, but while Sucre3 contains its share of nasty sounds, it's also insanely catchy and smile-inducing, in a way that those more "serious" releases almost never are.

If Richard D. James went to Indonesia for a couple years to study gamelan and monkey chant, this would be the CD he'd make on his return. It's full of tweaked-out voice samples, samba riffs, long, slow, cyclical rhythms, crazed shrieking chants and gorgeous long-form drones. Just like a great pop album, each track on the disc creates its own strange little world, then slowly sucks you in.

"Ubudunderground" starts things off with a fast and harsh Balinese-style chant over clanging bells and a jangly fire alarm. "Sound/Silence" keeps the chant going but adds fast and brutal little interludes of hyper-distorted screams. Yes, it will scare your cat, but it's a lot more fun than it sounds!

A bunch of crazed but kindly robots do some sort of demented booty dance on "Toys74". Barking monkeys and a gamelan player trade licks on "Babygong". "Sugarrainbow" is a pretty ambient thing with some silly vocal sound effects and fake samba vocals. "Moonlove" channels Aphex Twin via distorted human beatboxing and happy video game melodies.

There's more! "Twinkle" is a freaky -- but not evil -- music box full of little boys, a squeaky toy and a xylophone. "Candyland"... Well, I don't know what in the hell "Candyland" is all about. "Smile" is a half-broken drum machine retrofitted with samples of Tibetan bells, a distorted scream and a chipmunk choir. Ever-changing, always lovely distorted voice drone: "Littlestars". And finally there's "Sleep!", a pretty little vocals + delay box + synth pad tune.

Wow. All that, plus lovely cover art in a nice, simple digi-pak. The really amazing thing about Sucre3 is that although there's not a lot in the way of song forms, it's still very easy to listen to it actively, and the individual tracks each really stand on their own as identifiable and enjoyable pieces of sonic weirdness. This is one of the catchiest and most good-natured "noise" recordings I've ever heard. I think you'll like it.

-- irving bellemead
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