Me, Claudius: Reasons for Balloons

Me Claudius

Dinzu Artefacts cassette and download

Wonderful documentation of sonic plunderings and surrealistic found sound juxtapositions from the mysterious Me, Claudius. This is their debut, as far as I can tell, and, as such, presents an assured calling card for future explorations, its straightforward technique – various samples and fragments cut together with snatches of airy field recording – providing a platform for aural collages that are unsettling and exhilarating in turn. The bustling soundscapes that open Heartbreaking Shuffle and Statuesque at times resemble the comfy, retro sampledelica that you might hear on Gilles Peterson’s radio show. A groovy flute samples and stuttering kick drum are just edgy enough to help hip young gunslingers get over their hangovers in some cutesy cafés. But any risk of smugness is banished by the incessant vocal lines that chant unsettling concrete poetry all over these stitched together soundscapes. “Shot like a natural/ It’s the panoramic look/Pig” intones an enigmatic narrator, their streams of phrases that unfurling like ticker tape across the track’s increasingly abrasive surface.

There’s more than a smidgeon of musique concrete about this, although the playfulness of the cuts, not to mention the audibility of the clicks and slices that join the various source materials together, makes for a more welcoming experience than the po-faced growls and crashes emitting from the usual Schaeffer-Henry fan club. The sense that things could tip out of control at any moment adds a high-wire frisson to proceedings too. That incipient chaos is lurking near to the surface of the fantastically titled Safari. Church Style (_I, the people. Cut into squares_) that lurches across the tape’s second side. You get to hear more from that narrator, their transatlantic twang morphed into a nasally, sarcastic burr that isn’t a million miles away from Mark Smith’s splenetic bark when he still had fire in his belly. The motormouth rants jostle with frenetic drum clips and repeating rubbery bleeps, like some lost Boredoms soundtrack to console shoot-‘em up, but the every-hungry maw of the grey noise machine refuses to cease and desist. Next thing you know it, everything’s been gobbled up leaving only a disconsolate furze of bumps and clicks. WTF? Who knows.




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