Terminal 11: Illegal Nervous Habits

Cock Rock Disco, 2005

Illegal Nervous Habits cover

If you follow Mike Castaneda’s advice and check his web site terminal11.com in the near future, you’ll be informed of what the Terminal 11 project is all about, mainly: “Anger Management Thru Audio.” After listening to the 9 tracks in his first album for the Cock Rock Disco label, Illegal Nervous Habits, this assertion turns out to be true, if a little inaccurate. “Anger Management Thru Audio Micromanagement” would be a more precise wording of what this stuff really sounds like.

This is Terminal 11’s third album after two releases on Phthalo (Speed Modified and Don Maximo/Postmod Premax), and where those two albums were all-encompassing, fill-all-available-CD-space efforts, Illegal Nervous Habits is a more concise exercise in sound transmogrification, done with a sense of humor and probably fueled by gallons of energy drink.

Speed Modified waddled in an increasingly displaced familiar territory (something tickled in your ears, suggesting it wasn’t a journey through your typical post- choose your own post epithet). Don Maximo/Postmod Premax clearly left that thin familiarity behind and entered the world of “rocket-propelled proto-planetesimal impact beats,” Phthalo label head Dimitri Fergadis’ punctilious description of Castaneda’s rhythmic Tourette’s syndrome.

In Illegal Nervous Habits we find most of Castaneda’s trademarks: sampling galore (from funky music to female and children’s dialogues playing in the background), rhythm incontinence, dyslexic structure, and pristine production. The difference with his previous published work is to be found in the tone, rather than in the approach to composing the music. These sounds could be construed as pop (a really dysfunctional and devious kind of pop) if compared with the darker, more cinematic character of his output on the Phthalo label.

Part of this softening translates to pure deceleration. At some point tracks come to a discernible tempo by themselves, BPMs almost reduced to fifty percent of their initial speed. “Adcar” and “Offset Packed” are the best examples of this technique: the almost inassimilable torrent of audio information freezes and mutates in a few bars, transposing the original discourse of the songs into something completely new but clearly spawned from the mother tracks.

Terminal 11 sound roams in an accelerated twilight zone where music turns into data and data turns into music (that’s sort of quoting Jason Forrest, by the way). Illegal Nervous Habits keeps pushing ahead on a quest for the New, and achieves and entertains where other experimental excursions just fiddle around and bore.

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