C/A/T – Worldwide totalitarian control

The best thing about the Bush government is probably that it urged many artists to do something creative. I saw for instance a very politically inspired powerful concert by Skinny Puppy a few months ago. Bush jr. is prominently featured on the cover of the new EP by C/A/T, the main project of Crunch Pod label founder Ben Arp.

This mcd, entitled Worldwide totalitarian control, is dedicated to ‘the thousands of individuals who have lost their lives around the world as a result of the events of 9/11/01’. Though sampled aggressive speeches by Bush play a prominent role in the recordings, C/A/T/ makes it clear in the accompanying press sheet that they don’t want to imply that Bush alone is responsible for violent reactions. C/A/T believes in an ‘international network of power elite’ that is pulling the strings, and in a process of problem-reaction-solution (similar to the Hegelian Dialectic of thesis—antithesis—synthesis), in which a problem (existant or not) leads to a reaction of the masses, which is answered by the political leaders with a solution, which is not always an improvement.

I was expecting quite violent, militant music, but in fact the four tracks sound rather restrained. Though there is some rhythmic noise present (especially on the first track “problem’), the songs are quite melodic and rather specious at times. The EP contains no real dancefloor attacks, the music is not straightforward and fast enough for that, but still retains a reasonable level of accessibility. Now and then I’m reminded of IDM and I even hear some dark hip-hop beats, while the parts full of speech samples make me think of Velvet Acid Christ’s early work. Various other samples (sounds from the homevideos made during the WTC attack, ‘Orange alert’) related to the political theme make this into an interesting sound collage. I especially like ‘Reaction (official)’, with an effective mixture of beats and loops. Also quite special is the atmospheric ‘Solution’, which evokes images to me of empty spaces where once stood skycrapers. A solid EP with an interesting political theme, which will not make governments fall, but which is worth 18 minutes of your time.

artist: C/A/T
label: Crunch Pod
details: 4 tracks, 18 min, 2004. [crunch35]