061180 - 'I'm considering being a cloud'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

Have you ever considered being a cloud? Probably not, but 061180 has. The numbers are the moniker of John Parnell, an experimental noise artist. His new record under the band name is ‘I’m considering being a cloud,’ a six-track outing that dropped at the end of March. Many of the sounds on the eccentric record were created utilizing the ‘The Reach’ effects pedal from Noise Kick FX. The result? Quite a bizarre collection of eerie sounds that Parnell describes as ‘the score to a depraved horror movie.’

I can really dig peculiar, experimental noise projects. I’m the biggest Lou Reed fan around and have a copy of ‘Metal Machine Music’ in my playlist - the ridiculously infamous granddaddy of this genre. I can really only get into it, though, when it’s intelligently designed. Does 061180 achieve that?

‘Fiction’ brews up something sinister and ominous with three and a half minutes of indescribable rumblings. Parnell is playing around heavily with droning synths and atmospheric effects. That carries into ‘A farm in the dessert,’ a nine minute extension of ‘Fiction.’ I wouldn’t recommend listening to the entirety of the track. I did, and I wouldn’t mind a refund of the time. Nothing happens the entire nine minutes.

Everything that ‘A farm in the dessert’ isn’t, ‘Home bird III’ is. The next track explores a variety of sonic landscapes and remains consistently interesting throughout its nearly fourteen minute run. The song seems to be broken up in movements, and once you hit the seven minute marker, things get a bit creepy. I wouldn’t suggest this album for leisurely late night listening or bedtime.

‘Satan’s kazoo,’ true to name, conjures what I imagine Lucifer’s terrible kazoo skills would sound like. At this point in the album, I came to a realization. Much like myself, there’s no way there isn’t a copy of ‘Metal Machine Music’ in Parnell’s library. This weird distortion experiment is something straight off of the landmark noise album. So is its unbearably uncomfortable follow-up, ‘Eat your make-up.’

The record ends itself with an incredibly creepy outro, ‘A lesser key of Solomon.’ Thus, it’s time for the honesty hammer. (Note to self: rebrand the ‘Independent Spotlight’ as ‘The Honesty Hammer.’) ‘Metal Machine Music’ works because it doesn’t take itself seriously and there was an obvious, well-known reason for Reed’s insane musings. (Basically a giant middle finger at his label.) I’m not sure if that carries over to ‘I’m considering being a cloud.' Some of its expansiveness seems a bit too empty and pointless. It’s definitely a very odd noise record, though, and for fans of the genre, it may be worth a listen. However, 99% of music fans won’t like this. If you can only get through a minute of ‘Metal Machine Music,’ stay away from this record. If you’re compelled by that insanity, ‘I’m considering being a cloud’ isn’t a bad next step.