AMN Reviews: The League of Assholes – In Ogre Ate (2017; Titicacaman Records)

The U.S. presidential election, Brexit, and growing right-wing movements throughout Europe have led to a great deal of consternation, anxiety, and anger. Anger is nothing new for the right, but the degree to which it is now a component of the liberal reaction to these events has not been seen in generations. At times of social unrest, new forms of art and expression are often produced, as artists wrestle with the aforementioned emotions. The question that many of us have had since late last year is how the creative music world would respond to the changes of 2016 and the dark days that follow. Now we have an early answer.

According to the liner notes of this release, “[t]he League of Assholes does not exist, there is no league and the participants in this work are not assholes.” In Ogre Ate is a 29-minute single track EP featuring contributions from over 20 individuals. While several of the names are familiar the most well-known contributor is San Francisco sound artist Thomas DiMuzio. And if you are familiar with DiMuzio’s work, you’ll be ready for this album.

A sound collage, In Ogre Ate features multiple layers of instrumentation, effects, static, walls of noise, voices, and screaming. Invoking post-industrial hellscapes, the sounds combine to reflect a nervous foreboding. Both melancholy and rageful, the track progresses from more overtly aggressive and harsh structures to an unsettled ambiance, then climaxing with a boiling distemper. The final minute devolves into a brief, twisted guitar, trumpet, and shaker theme.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about In Ogre Ate is how well it works as both protest music as well as an enjoyable piece of dark noise art. Well done.

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