Terminal Muse: Blue by Lid Emba
2011 CD


Terminal Muse: Blue, the new release from Atlanta, Georgia's Lid EMBA (Sean Moore, if you're the Feds), is the second in a trilogy dedicated to the cost of persistence in art. Literally. Far from being a gift, the concept posits that the creative urge is actually a curse, a disease, an incurable infection that both drives the artist while draining his or her life-force. It's no wonder the theory came to Sean during a year-long period of intensive medical treatment, the time-span that produced the 1st recording in the series, Terminal Muse: Red.

As a defense against succumbing completely to such a harsh view, Lid EMBA imagines a musical world in which the three chord, hard-fast-rules that broke the back of a tepid progressive rock scene never came to pass. Instead, the intensity intended for punk is absorbed, minus the blues quotient, and married to the avant garde moves of European electronic music and American jazz, creating a more surreal but no less visceral, liberating force.

While a less experienced practitioner of such a description would create an album of monochrome fury, Terminal Muse: Blue is a varied and well measured listen. Sure, there's dissonance, crunching synthesizers, blips, bloops, ice cold organs, lush orchestral swells, stuttering drums, and absolutely nothing danceable in the rolling-at-2:00-in-the-morning sense. Simultaneously, there's a shrewd and eccentric compositional scheme underpinning the surface irrationality that values symmetry, balance, and the superimposition and collision of variable melodic and rhythmic cells.

Often what sounds like loops aren't and vice versa. Real-time execution was the preference, including a whole lotta flesh and blood drumming (though it is often processed, taken from crumbling 4-track cassette tapes or otherwise recontextualized), removing the recording from the zeitgeist of modern glitch merchants and placing it within the historical lineage of such outre' experimental rock as King Crimson, Magma, Eno's early work and This Heat. There is also a kinship with such maverick nonconformists as early Cluster and Kraftwerk, the Bomb Squad's block-rocking PE productions, and John Carpenter's classic soundtracks. Despite pre-21st century influences providing much of the inspiration, however, Lid EMBA is a firmly contemporary concern. It's impossible to imagine a track like, say, 'Zakula,' existing at any time other than now.

Lid EMBA's releases always close with a big bang, supplied here by James Plotkin's toxic dub of 'Macedonia, appropriately titled 'Macedonian.' Terminal Muse: Blue is the third Lid EMBA CD that Plotkin has mastered, so it's about time that his own fiercely idiosyncratic vision made an appearance.

WAKE UP! ART KILLS.

Mastered by James Plotkin

Free MP3 of Macedonia

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Video of "Macedonia"




Video of "Macedonian - version by James Plotkin"



"As i've stated time and again here at OB, i'm a big fan of folks trying out new sounds. It's the exploratory nature of beat music that tends to make it exciting for my ear holes.

Enter Lid Emba. The Stickfigure Recordings artist is back with Terminal Muse: Blue, the second in a trilogy "dedicated to the cost of persistence in art." To call it different would be an understatement. This is spastic beat music for those with criminally short attention spans, ironic for such long tracks.

i try to stay away from cutting and pasting press releases, but i thought this one was particularly well worded:

"As a defense against succumbing completely to such a harsh view, Lid EMBA imagines a musical world in which the three chord, hard-fast-rules that broke the back of a tepid progressive rock scene never came to pass. Instead, the intensity intended for punk is absorbed, minus the blues quotient, and married to the avant garde moves of European electronic music and American jazz, creating a more surreal but no less visceral, liberating force.

While a less experienced practitioner of such a description would create an album of monochrome fury, Terminal Muse: Blue is a varied and well measured listen. Sure, there's dissonance, crunching synthesizers, blips, bloops, ice cold organs, lush orchestral swells, stuttering drums, and absolutely nothing danceable in the rolling-at-2:00-in-the-morning sense. Simultaneously, there's a shrewd and eccentric compositional scheme underpinning the surface irrationality that values symmetry, balance, and the superimposition and collision of variable melodic and rhythmic cells."

i LOVE that "...absolutely nothing danceable in the rolling-at-2:00-in-the-morning sense" line. That's good writing there. And this here is some good, avant garde listening here." - Odd Bloggings

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"Several decades ago Atlanta, Georgia had a terrible reputation as a place where lots of bad music originated. In the mid 1970s the region was pretty much filled up with Southern rock and cover bands...almost all of which were average and very disappointing. Over time the landscape of Atlanta music has changed completely...and now in the twenty-first century there is so much going on that it's impossible to even keep up with it all. On the extreme obscure underground side, things don't get much more experimental than Lid Emba (his real name is Sean Moore). We've heard Lid Emba releases in the past and this one continues the grand tradition of harsh electronics used to create sound rather than standardized songs. Unlike the average modern day synthesizer artist who wants crystal clear sounds, Moore seems to grovel in distortion and accidentals. Almost forty minutes' worth of chaotic harsh stuff here reminiscent of early experimental acts like Suicide. Seven gutsy cuts including "Dawning," "Iscariot," and "Zakula." Heavy and hard." - Babysue

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"drum heavy, trip heavy. James Plotkin adds a mix of his own in 'Macedonian,' going out into drum/bass/drill land with a slightly over the top mix. Things work best for me when they are more straight forward: they are still furious but gain more strength. Not the sort of thing to play on a daily basis, but quite good for an all out ear cleansing experience." - Vital Weekly 788

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"This is the second installment of a color-themed trilogy from Atlanta, GA's Lid Emba (actually one Sean Moore), with seven tracks of heavy rhythms swaddled in dark-ambient drone and noise. Early works by Cluster and This Heat are big influences on the experimental sounds that manifest themselves here; the opening track "dawning" brings the noise immediately, with stuttering bursts of static and keyboard drone that lead into "macedonia," with more machine-like processed rhythms doing battle with some truly avant, manic drumming that keeps rolling off in different directions without ever completely abandoning the beat. The fascination with processed noises and erratic beats continues on "stuttercrow," which sounds like a demented futuristic take on calypso music -- a transmission from the lost islands of the future, perhaps? Things shift into a more downtempo gear on the lengthy "iscariot," where ominious drone and slow, muted beats are the dominant feature; the piece evolves through the gradual layering of sonic textures and subtly growing dynamics, but never so much that it loses its languid feeling. The tracks that follow, "dusking" and "zakula," mark a return to the beats and noise combination of the earlier tracks, although the latter is initially less agitated than the others, even with the inclusion of some static-laden loops, although it becomes more intense over time without becoming strident. The final track, "macedonian," is a supremely devolved remix of "macedonia" by James Plotkin (who also mastered the disc) that turns the track into something even more bizarre and explosive. As strange as it is sophisticated, this is definitely a worthy exploration of the fields of experimental sound first investigated by the likes of Cluster, Eno, and This Heat. Art kills, indeed." - The One True Dead Angel