Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Digitariat - Its A Fix

The Digitariat - Its A Fix
No label. CDR. 50 Copies.


Paul Knowles’ noisy Digitariat rants have flickered across our screens for a number of years now. Since relocating to London he’s definitely found more to rant about than he would have in leafy Harrogate. London does that to people. Deviating from his last release in such a manner that this becomes a serious handbrake turn we now find The Digitariat in more familiar territory than the one where glue records provide the soundbase. The foul mood that rails against class and caviar in a style reminiscent of early Whitehouse is one to warm the cockles of any self respecting nihilists heart and its one that Knowles performs with manly aplomb. The thirty minute live performance as captured at London’s Hope & Anchor in February this year shows that Knowles really can deliver a top noise rant. His cathartic delivery style twinned to some pummeling noise hits the spot and when he sings ‘Whats the difference between now and a Victorian workhouse?’ you really get the feeling that he means it [man]. Unfortunately all this venom disappears down the pan in an instant when Knowles breaks the silence that follows to meekly ask if theres time for one more. 

Its quality control that ultimately lets down this release down - a fault that runs through many a noise platter. The temptation to fill up your CDR with whatever’s lying about must be a strong one and its to be discouraged. If we’d have left The Digitariat after his Victorian workhouse onslaught we could have all gone home happy, instead we’re treated to an unwanted encore and some fucking about over which we hear the audience chat about tube times and whose round it is. What follows is even worse and best left alone. The previous five studio tracks hold out much promise which makes the oddball stuff all the more discombobulating; the title track fizzes by with much gusto, ‘A Flash of Smile’ is a volley of overdubbed vocals that shows Knowles is no slouch in the recording studio either, ‘Where’s The Advantage’ is sultry vocals over a industrial barrage, ‘Fix’ is Whitehouse homage circa Quality Time where those lovely falling down the steps bass bombs rub shoulders with frotted scaffolding and the odd nip of piercing feedback. ‘You Don’t Know What Skint Is’ sounds remarkably like one of John Cooper Clarke’s Martin Hannet produced jobs in which Knowles ask lots of questions of a similar hue in a flat voice through a rolled up newspaper; ‘What’s an avocado? Where does caviar come from? …’ the bass rumbles on in a gloomy Gang of Four style, the drums hit a 4/4 beat ... there’s not many noise artists working that could cover so much ground and make it so utterly listenable. And then comes the crud.

Knowles has a really big axe to grind. If he can temper it and use it in the editing suite he may end up with something remarkable. As it is now all those remarkable bits are lost. Hopefully not forever though.

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