Terminal Outputs - Die
It's really difficult to know what to make of Terminal Outputs. Is it a joke? It could well be, for what we have here is an EP that consists, mainly, of really dreadful noise. No, seriously, it is noise. It's a very particular type of noise, that of the horribly distorted electric guitar, but noise nonetheless. There are no tunes here, no catchy hooks and no lyrics to speak off. Indeed, there are vocals, but when they occur, you start wishing for the noises to come back. That said, there is something here, that is worth a listen for those willing to perservere.
Nobody said music should be easy. Terminal Outputs are most certainly not easy listening. There is something going on here, though, and a flick through the song titles should tell you that. Raising Agent: E500 takes it's name from the stuff they put in bread to make it rise quickly enough to cope with consumer demand and, in essence, stops it from being real bread. Check out the supermarkets; see if you can find bread without it. You won't. The song itself is a slow, almost refined burst of the odd under-amplified power chord against a background of fast 'plucking' and snatches of feedback. For eight whole minutes and an exact eight minutes no less. There are some vocals, but they're hidden so far down in the mix, you won't hear them. You get the sense it doesn't really matter.
By contrast, My Dear Margaret, Over at the Officer's and Sgt's mess, We Planted The Flowers lasts a mere 30 seconds of tortured, barely played guitar. Monumental Shapes Merge is just that. It’s the sound of monumental shapes merging in a torturous and grinding sort of way. Girl Pressure is a painful wail of high pitched noise. There's some more shouting on this one. Stung is notable for a pounding drum opening, with high pitched scrapings and squeals of electronic noise. It's the closest thing on here to radio friendly and very nearly is a song in the traditional sense of the word. You get the general idea, no? This is music of the most abstract type; there is real composition and structure here, just not the sort we're used to. It is, if you like, the esoteric side of math rock, whatever that label used to mean.
This is the unpleasant flip side to novelty stuff like The Fucking Champs. That particular band take the essence of music and strip it down to it's more palatable details. Terminal Outputs, on the other hand, have taken the stuff that other bands would consider unusable and have crafted it into something that's all their own. Whether that's a good thing or not, you must decide for yourself. If you're into more extreme sort of industrial noise outfits, you'd probably love these. Have a look at their, suitably bleak, website for more info. This EP was picked up at a live show and does not seem to be available there, or anywhere else for that matter. They'd be sure to sell you one, though, if you ask nicely. In a world of fairly bland consumer punk/guitar/rock that caters for the lowest common denominator, it's fantastic that there are bands out there doing something even slightly different with their guitars and drums and, for that alone, we must salute them. It's highly recommended you have a look at these if you're feeling adventurous....
There's no 'number-rating' for these on purpose; it would be meaningless.
Photo by Andy Sturmey