Reviewed by Colin Buttimer (themilkfactory.co.uk)
Dark ambient, anybody? For that’s what Uniform’s Protocol delivers. We have throbbing aches, unsettling gurgles, the noise of static, voices snatched away from their context and so forth. Overt beats are subdued and relatively rare, Protocol’s primary concern appears to be texture and the possibilities of texture to convey darkness, malevolence and wickedness.
The press release tells us that Uniform is one Wajid Yaseen, who’s also part of an industrial electronics act called 2nd Gen, signed to Mute. I must confess I’ve never heard of either of them. What is notable about this project are its guest vocalists, who include the likes of Lydia Lunch, Dalek and Suicide’s Alan Vega. Penultimate track The Symbolist features the only guest instrumentalist in the form of saxophonist Terry Edwards whose multi-tracked worrying roars gradually conjure up Dante-esque visions of distress. The power of Edwards’ playing is further emphasised by the pensive guitar figure that loops throughout the piece.
Franko B narrates a suitably grim tale on No One Saw The Difference. Its opening line is “Little Mary is pronounced dead at 3.27 am,” while it closes with “Like Spring, like all that is new and fresh. It turns my guts.” His voice is more than a little reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s favourite anti-heroes, Pete Lorre. Franko B is also credited with the CD artwork, which is a rather fine series of black on black paintings, their forms picked out only by light falling upon texture. The venerable Alan Vega’s contribution to When The Sun Turns To Numbers is rather fine and comes across as a sort of obsessive/reflexive crooning.
If the likes of Throbbing Gristle or Merzbow raise your pulse from its routine murmur, then you’ll want to check this out. If not, then Protocol may just prove a little too full of dread and dismay.
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