Negativland: No Brain EP + Aux Brain (Seeland, 2021)

October 10, 2021 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Negativland: No Brain EP

Negativland’s new EP is a short overflow of ideas from their interconnected last 2 albums, True False and The World Will Decide. The record starts with “Megaphone Guy”, a piece about the loudest guy in the room, the one that is unavoidable and has no shortage of opinions to subject people to. Essentially it discusses how social media has given us all the power to become the filterless idiot with a megaphone. Then the brief “Mister Nobody” is about the invisible criminals who monitor everyone. “No Brain” is about how little of the information that comes across your vision even registers with your brain, and even how little of the internet you see from search results, or how different search results are available for different classes. “Sequitur” is riddled with purposeful non-sequiturs, demonstrating how it’s nearly impossible for most people to tell what’s relevant and true among the constant stream of information that we’re constantly being bombarded with all the time. The EP is a short, focused burst of pointed, meaningful content which holds up a mirror to the continual process of content-making. Online pre-orders of the EP included Aux Brain, an album of live performances culled from their 2019 European tour. Reconstructing pieces in real time, the performances often take on more of an ambient quality than the album versions, with familiar samples bursting out of the ether, and less of a rhythmic base than the carefully sculpted recordings. Escape From Noise favorite “Time Zones” sounds extra ominous and detached, although I’m not really getting if they’ve updated it much. Then the Weatherman does a live demonstration of what happens when he asks Google, Alexa and Siri about why he’s attracted to the odor of cheap melting plastic, or if it’s ok for him to shake his pants when he takes them off. The computer voices just laugh at him and talk about scorpions, and because of their uselessness, the Weatherman has no choice but to make a horribly off-key attempt at singing. A blast of Escape/Helter Stupid-era soundbytes round out the piece, as the irrepressible Weatherman can’t help but laughing everything off.

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