ENDIF – Meta
(2006 Crunch Pod)
Endif might sound like yet another guy who throws glitchy hardcore noise together on a computer, but his newest CD Meta is like a Transformer (could that be one on the cover?) in that there’s much more than meets the eye. Or ear.
Try to classify what’s on here and you’ll have a very difficult task ahead of you. Laptop musician? Go to one of his live shows and you’ll be treated to Jason Hollis banging away at an electronic drum set while one of his minions (occasionally it’s fellow technogeek Josev Ferraro of the band CTRLSHFT, who masterfully mastered this CD, and sometimes it’s powernoise guru Matt Fanale of labelmate Caustic) fiddles away at a myriad of electronic gadgets that probably cost more than a half-dozen laptops. Hollis isn’t interested in loops; his fetish is with actual hardware. Drum ‘n’ bass? Although he’s very drum-happy, and there’s some thumpin’ bass that could tear apart a cheap set of speakers at a low volume, and tracks like “Bolter” might hint at that sort of thing, there’s too much tempo and beat changing to clearly pigeonhole him into that or any other techno sub-genre. Powernoise? Glitchcore? He prefers a somewhat minimalist style of smooth-flowing yet unorthodox drumming, as opposed to intentionally destroying people’s sanity. Dance-floor friendly? As if. Or End-if.
A few tracks grant us vocals, such as the terrorist-themed “Sleeper Cell” and the environmentally catastrophic “Ashes.” Read one of Hollis’s blogs or listen to one of his radio interviews and you’ll find that hidden beneath the heavily distorted shouting is a man who has extremely strong opinions about global politics and is both a user and promoter of bio-fuels. You’d figure that after scoring a nice record deal and having this CD distributed across North America by an independent California record label, that this would be the perfect pulpit from which to promote his convictions by printing the lyrics. The vocals often more closely approximate sandpapery sound effects than decipherable words, and this works well in an artistic sense, but no lyrics are provided. Nor does he indicate in the booklet what one can do to help save the world from itself. Perhaps he’s trying to be commendably modest and not as in-your-face about it as Moby (although Hollis bears a striking resemblance to him), or perhaps he knows he’s preaching to the choir, but neglecting to mention anything regarding issues about which he feels very strongly seems like the loss of a good opportunity.
The end result (or End-if result…. Sorry! I’ll quit that now) is a refreshingly non-repetitive opus that sounds very professionally mixed and mastered, something that is rather unique to a style of music that usually prides itself on its harshness. It’s a soundtrack appropriate for both moshing around the house and hugging a tree.