Venta Protesix is Italo Belladonna, a purveyor of deranged laptop noise from Salerno, Italy. His jittery, distorted lumps of digital glitch and fuzz are the sound of a thousand web browsers as they’re torn apart by a combination of Russian mafia virus attacks and glitchy, hypercompressed porno clips, their hard disks moaning in pain as they’re dumped into a rusting garbage heap in rural China, ready to be stripped down to their burnt out semiconductors and charred circuit boards.
At its best, a Venta Protesix piece is a disorientating thrill, a roller coaster ride through the wastebin of the Matrix, the ghosts of corrupted JPEGs howling in terror as they jerk through their grotesque dances forever, full-spectrum white noise cutting to mind-flayingly shrill micro-bleeps and blobs of garish, hi-vis gristle. There are plenty of good moments like this here, which collects a whole pile of vicious shards of digital squall created between 2008 and 2015. At those moments, it’s possible to look beyond Belladona’s grim obsession with Japanese porn culture and dig the pure sonic curmudgeon-ness that he serves up.
But, make no mistake, I do have an issue with all that stuff. His vision of “an imaginary Japan populated by bidimensional pre-teens and sexual violence,” is reminiscent of a teenager trying to offend his parents at Christmas or that irritating IT guy who insists on showing you the latest horrors he’s dredged up from the dark web in the pub after work. I’m not into it, and I’m also not into the gonzoid arrested development of titles like Menstruation of a Virgin Japanese Girl, even if the vertiginous swoops and abrasive rasps of the track in question are a pretty darned good listen. Not to mention that fact that this virtual grot does add a layer of sweaty claustrophobia to the work, giving it the air of a walled-in, internal world, the introverted mania of a mind slowly dissolving after too many days indoors, blinds closed, hunched over a laptop screen, feverishly clicking on more links, opening more windows, as the layers of debauchery and exploitation pile up in ghostly virtual layers around you.
And I guess that’s that’s just the way Mr Protesix likes it, probably, that cocktail of self-loathing, NSFW bitmaps and broadband scuzz set up perfectly to annoy the hell out of sandal-munching, muesli-wearing liberals like me. What more can I say? Love the music, hate the imagery. And that’s probably the way it will stay until Venta Protesix turns down the volume, joins the Wandelweiser diaspora and starts putting out stuff on Erstwhile or Another Timbre. Now that would be interesting.