EC8OR: The One and Only High and Low

The One and Only High and Low
Digital Hardcore

EC8OR are some angry kids, that’s for sure. What they’re angry about, though, is a little harder to figure out. Like Atari Teenage Riot and pretty much all of the other Digital Hardcore groups, EC8OR’s music is a high-speed mix of frenetic beats and guitars, and their stance is a politically active, anarchistic one.

Gina V. D’Orio, one half of the group, wrote, in a message on the Digital Hardcore web site: “Today it’s very important to be as loud as we can, to break all limits and rules, to destroy daily the fascism that rules the world. That’s the importance of using lyrics connected with noisy loud music we do.” “Noisy” and “loud” are definitely terms to apply to EC8OR’s third album, The One and Only High and Low. Other words are “chaotic,” “rebellious” and “wild.” Musically, the band is doing something important. From the first track, “You Can Hire,” on, it’s clear that while they are in sync with the type of music Atari Teenage Riot makes, EC8OR’s musical tracks are even more chaotic. They have not only hyper guitars and beats, but a tendency to constantly switch the patterns of both. The music is constantly shifting, like dance music for the ultra-attention-deficient. This fact makes the album both groundbreaking, in a way, and extremely tiring. The CD is less than 40 minutes long, yet it almost seems too long; you can only spend so much time on a thrill ride before it wears you out. Still, there are a few surprises. “Don’t Tell Me Shit” slows everything down a bit and let them experiment with noise at a different speed. It’s a nice break, something that they could use a bit more of.

The lyrics, screamed by D’Orio, are another matter entirely. The music communicates rage and energy so successfully, and with such passion, that it overshadows the lyrics. Plus, to be honest, I can’t figure out a word she’s saying. When you’re trying to get a political message across, it doesn’t work too well if it isn’t clear. A couple of the titles, like “I Won’t Pay” and “Gimme Nyquil All Night Long,” vaguely indicate the subject is rebellion, but that’s about it The CD booklet includes lyrics to a couple songs, but these (the most overtly subversive is, “Rob the stores / Get the information / Going mental / Nobody can stop”) don’t really convince me that they have anything to say.

There is one track, “Go Out,” where the lyrics are clear enough to come together with the music to form a message. This is a weird cheerleader-type song about lining up arm in arm and uniting in the struggle. It’s a neat song, but, um, not that we’ve linked arms, what are we uniting against? If EC8OR know, they’re not telling us, and that’s the biggest problem. This music might get the kids riled up enough to crowd surf or flick people off, but I sure don’t see how it’s going to help destroy fascism.