CD review: Hans Fjellestad, Snails R Sexy (Accretions).


You weren’t thinking of playing this album quiet, were you? ‘Cause if nothing’s vibrating off your shelves, don’t even bother.

It’s a physical thing. What the press release says and the CD package oughta is that filmmaker/musician Fjellestad generated most of the sounds on >Snails R Sexy> using analog Moog synthesizers, theremin and vacuum-tube processors. Unlike digital, analog has a way of getting really, really big as it gets louder before it starts hurting your ears. And Fjellestad says he tested his processes live, figuring out what made audiences squirm before he entered the studio for his fourth solo Accretions project.

The result: It works. “Calle Calla” attacks with tortured twitters and gigantic ratcheting sounds, peaking with a truly disturbing shriek like the death cry of a 10-foot squirrel dismembered on a rack. On “Love Dart,” intense sawtooth vibrations give way to deep, muffled, oppressive reggae riddims -- kind of an overloaded Maytag under attack by squealing 1950s spaceships. Most impressive are the pressured magma drones of “Fist,” which opens with a severely harmed church organ before introducing enormous rubber balls squeezed by titanic hands; this shit will literally take your easy chair for a roller-coaster ride. Hard to believe that noises this punishing can be reproduced in digital form at all.

A chest massage is included with every play of this CD, and it’s also useful if you want to scare away burglars or trick-or-treaters. Some of the sounds are so harmful that they had me straining my ears. Oh no. Did I blow my speakers . . . again? (Greg Burk)

photo by Tania Nyberg