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(Spectrum Spools; US: 26 Nov 2012; UK: 26 Nov 2012)

Those coming to Ren Schofield’s second album as Container looking for wild variance are missing the point. The project is just the biotech; how it’s suited to different apparatuses is where the project’s intrigue lies. Hence, we get an LP that, like its predecessor, is plainly titled LP and its song titles (“Perforate”, “Dripping”, “Paralyzed”, “Acclimator”, and “Paralyzed”) are clinical and diagnostic, identical in blueprint to the prototype. Everything has roughly the same sense of immediacy and lo-fi skronk dissonance as its predecessor. Even the monotonous chipmunk loop announcing the song titles on “Refract” and “Perforate” are facsimiles of the ones heard on “Rattler” from the first LP

Should we expect anything less? Container’s antecedents—noise, techno, and punk—are defined by ephemerality, the throbbing pulse pushing ever forward so that the bruised and floundering screeches sound less like a product of time than a symptom of it. The many theoreticians of ruin porn have noted how derelict buildings and splintered concrete slabs present themselves as products of nature, rather than systemic constructs that are an outgrowth of mismanagement and human neglect. Container too has a natural quality in its analogue fetish, yet it’s most definitely a calculation. As free and loose as the music gets from the machine purr that opens “Acclimator” to the grainy churn of “Refract” at its most dense, the affects arise from a control system. It’s only within this boundaries of control that the sound is able to loosen its grip—to lose control. 

This is why Container is much more satisfying than the freeform noise of his former peers. In the conversion from a naked canvas to a more delimited model, many former noise guys seem unable negotiate the two, often producing bland lo-fi sounds that fetishize frame and format in a way the clubs moved past ages ago. That’s why Container stands outside of any cobbled-together scene. His sound is singular in both its predictability and its capriciousness. That’s why more of the same is exactly what was needed on his second LP.


Timothy Gabriele is a writer who studied English and Film at the University of Massachussetts at Amherst. He currently lives in the New Haven, CT region with his family. His column, The Difference Engine, appears regularly at PopMatters. He can be found twittering @Wildcorrective and blogging at 555 Enterprises.

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