Pittsburgh’s 8cylinder makes abrasive experimental music with nothing but a cello and an array of modular synths. His new release, The Language of Nerves Spoken in a Crude Dialect (Unmapped North), is awash in buzzing, grinding semi-melodies, menacing string jabs, and faint snatches of percussion. It’s the soundtrack to a person going mad in an empty room. Or potentially the soundtrack to a country slowly losing it; I might be reading too much into the names that 8cylinder chose for these songs, but the titular track, “Corrosive Anxiety,” “No One Is at the Helm,” and “The Empty Cage Still Rattles,” all seem like they could be referring obliquely to our esteemed orange leader. I especially liked “Corrosive Anxiety,” partially because I’m well-accustomed to the feeling (hooray for unread work emails!), but mostly because I was entranced by the songs simmering groove, which pulses with malevolent energy despite (or maybe because of) being buried under layers of static. A grainy snippet of melody spirals and floats throughout the cacophony, offering a tenuous olive branch to the listener. There’s nothing better than giving yourself some corrosive anxiety on a sunny Saturday, so get listening.
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