Vivian Sector: Mimosa Forms

Vivian Sector’s Mimosa Forms could easily be subtitled 23 Minutes and 53 Seconds of Relentless Sonic Brutality. It is unforgiving in its approach, its antipodean creator seemingly uninterested in light and shade of either the aural or textural varieties. Instead, Mimosa Forms is an exploration of different kinds of thick, different kinds of heavy, different kinds of sludgy, different kinds Vivianof noisy, different kinds of ugly.It moved me in a violent way. It made me want to destroy something beautiful, to break something fragile, to foul something clean, to desecrate something sacred.It is ostensibly (in Sector’s own words) a “No-technique aleatoric spasm” that began life as a reinterpretation of The Stooges’ “L.A. Blues”. In other words, it is a semi-improvised, noise-based attempt at recreating their raw power (pun definitely intended), energetic sloppiness and proto-punk grunt. What it ultimately does is successfully reconfigure their nihilistic and primitive fury, while somehow being even less traditionally “musical”.

A side-project of Duncan Blachford (one-third of Melbourne experimental/noise/improv/drone/rock trio Exhaustion), Mimosa Forms’ minimalist instrumentation – seemingly just electric guitar and drums – is so heavily treated and abraded with noise that it feels like we’re being confronted by not only a grinding guitar orchestra, but also by a troupe of wildly flailing and extremely angry drummers. The guitar tones constantly deepen and stretch, becoming bottomless and amorphous, until the source tones themselves appear to no longer exist. The crash of the drums bleeds out thanks to analogue distortion, the wash of it becoming a smear of overdriven reverb and hiss and dirt. This is partly a result of Mimosa Forms being recorded straight to cassette (hooray for the return of tapes!), and partly its intention – subtlety doesn’t seem to be Sector’s (Blachford’s) aim, and Mimosa Forms is all the better for that.

By the time we hit the 20-minute mark – Mimosa Forms’ peak of craziness, the highpoint and culmination of its extreme approach to improvisation and noise-making – we’re drained, battered, bruised and exhausted. Offering some relief is the fact that its last few minutes function as something of a “come down”: the guitar and drums gradually abandon their wall-of-sound approach and a sense of air and space seeps in. This is a perfect structural technique; given this “room”, we can more easily absorb Mimosa Forms’ doomsday improvisations, and more easily appreciate it as a soundtrack to some nebulous apocalypse that is hovering just beyond the horizon.

(Originally published on Cyclic Defrost, 16/12/2014)

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