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(Hydra Head; US: 5 Feb 2008; UK: 4 Feb 2008)

I’ve heard a lot of pointless music unfit for human consumption in my day (the Paris Hilton debut immediately comes to mind) and the work of Mick Barr is now highly ranked on that shameful list. The former Flying Luttenbacher’s latest release under the name Ocrilim is a series of modern classical pieces composed entirely for the whiny metal guitar (artcore?). I use the word “composed” lightly because Annwn is really just a solid hour of break-neck, purposeless pointless soloing on a six string or three.

I work at a music store, if you can believe writing doesn’t sustain my toad licking excuse for a lifestyle. There’s this kid who drops by constantly but never buys anything. He just plugs in and solos wildly for up to three hours at a time without a riff, melody, or timing of any kind. Lord only knows what he thinks he’s doing (I’m sure in his mind he thinks he’s the next Steve Vai), but what he actually does in our joint reality is annoy the hell out of my fellow employees and scare off any customers who might want to try out and pay money for something. In the grand scheme of things—though Barr obviously has tremendous skill to play that fast while throwing in all those crazy variations—that kind of wanky nuisance is all Annwn achieves. Like the kid, this is directionless talent and ego played so good that it sucks. And yet, most indie press types seem afraid to admit this is mindless masturbation lest their credentials be sullied, as if being able to stomach this music is a feather in their pimp cap. Pitchforkmedia closed their review of his last album by saying; “Fatigue demands only so many listens before taking a long break. It will not be something [they] return to often, but that will be out of respect.” Seriously, respect aside, what is there to enjoy about this incredibly fatiguing music that you can’t get from a jackhammer and a table saw?


Compelled to words by music since 2004, Ranta's words have appeared in such esteemed publications as Exclaim!, Tiny Mix Tapes, CBC Music, and PopMatters. He also regularly votes for the Polaris Music Prize, Village Voice Pazz & Jop, Juno Awards, and in all local, provincial, and federal elections. Based in East Vancouver, he's been known to a rave and/or rant, cat whisper, play basketball, pessimistically root for the Canucks, and read far too many comment sections. He graduated with distinction from SFU in 2012, with a bachelor's degree in music.

Tagged as: ocrilim

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