2CD HMS 012

October 2008
by Max Schaefer

Animating Interceptor, this two-disc set by Omit is a delicate organic motion one might not expect to find in a noise merchant so often likened to Birchville Cat Motel, The Dead C and their ilk. Regardless, Omit, aka Clinton Williams, has an ear for subtleties of musical structure and instrumental timbre. He puts together skillfully mixed harmonic shifts in "LockNut Shadow" and an immaculately paced sweep in yet others such "DropSite." An initial fascination thus develops out of hearing a slowly evolving continuum made up from a multitude of individual voices. Particularly pieces like the title track have a floaty, space-age quality—the nematode bass-thrum, clattering percussion, and solar wind whistling through strings are curiously distant, squirming together in an air-locked chamber, softened only slightly by the processed harmonies of helium-like sighs. Up until this point, Williams' system, though idiosyncratic, affords him a steady enough hand to reveal something recognizable, if still ineffable. His penchant for scatological surrealism, which permeated past efforts such as Quad, soon seeps into the proceedings like oil into water. The environment grows inclemental, sandstorm-like winds and the gnashing and gnawing of what sounds like close-miked termites whittle the surrounding area into deformed shapes; a propulsive mesh of analogue synth and mangled drum machines that flit through groves of upper treble tinglings and a dense lattice of high, whinnying arpeggios that rise and fall like day and night. Gradually, the music does begin to accumulate like landfill. For a good while Williams manages to provide matter off of which to work, to reshape, liquefy and electrify, and thus enable the pieces to remain tantalizingly ambiguous, yet as the bpm count climbs toward the end of the second disc, pieces like the warped bridal march of "WaveForm Finder" come across as a trifle too rudimentary and loaded down. Williams himself was apparently consternated by the fact that he kept on returning to these sound documents while he was supposed to be searching out a proper line of employment. And its not difficult to see why—in its best places, Interceptor is a bottomless pit, and as with Williams, the longer one peers into it, the greater the chance one stands of completely falling in.