Division by Zero – 7prs (Silent Records)


From Limerick-based musician 7prs (aka Robin Parmar) comes Division by Zero on the thankfully rebooted San Francisco-based Silent Records. The label was founded back in ’85 and active through the very early 00’s until being revived by sound-bender Kim Cascone in 2016.  Over five tracks that run about an hour the listener is drenched in whirring, reedy electronics at the crossroads of a blanketing build-up of warm drone, woven in many fine layers. The opener, Everlasting, teeters slightly as it spreads further out, developing a floating sound pattern that grows with volume. In the final minutes that solid structure dissipates into a heavy yet distant bellows ebbing from recognition, leaving only a faint shaker-like hiss to its end. 7prs has done due diligence to develop a sound that isn’t solely relying on its industrial edges, but manages to form this fission into part harmony as well. Mind you, this is not particularly harmonious, its more a continuum of sound with a sense of rhythm via low-fi rumbling and twitchy electronics.

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As the taciturn vibration emerges on the stand-out track Phial both left and right channels are fully employed. It’s a fine-grain wash of electroacoustics, that is surprisingly calming for something so bathed in a sand-paper groove. The strings warble continuously on Phalange, which sticks out oddly on this recording, at first it doesn’t seem to fit the timbre of atmosphere, but within the first 1/3 of this thirteen minute plus piece you are lost in its mesmeric scope. It plays like a noir backdrop to a thriller, as the background drone fades from back to front with a robotic slowness. It’s the loudest here, but somehow manages to break up any potential monotony, and keep the listener actively engaged. Concluding is the shiftless open sensibility of Air. It’s centered and building, like a concentrated mass, with open edges. Towards the middle of the track there are symphonic, atonal underpinnings where the cascade droops and cracks some. When Parmar adds percussion and echo the overall impact is exhilarating. If that’s not enough, this entire record was played live with no overdubs, which was surprising to learn. Perhaps in the end the added acoustic chatter was a wink, an “I’ll be back” gesture. Either way, this is a strong conceptual full-length worthy of a larger audience.


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