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Old 09.14.2011, 01:15 PM   #1
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Milemarker
Anaesthetic
2001, Jade Tree



Do you have a band that you feel like you "just get" way more than anyone else? That's sort of how I've always felt about Milemarker. Sure I knew people that liked them. But not as much as I did. And more than anything, I feel like they were generally cast aside. Paid little mind. Which I never really got.

Milemarker's recorded output lasted just under a decade, and just sort of stopped after the release of 2005's Ominicity. Maybe it was cuz Roby married Cex and moved away? Doubtful. The lineup of Milemarker was never a set thing. Each album featured different lineups, or members switching instruments, etc. In a sense Milemarker was never really a band so much as a collective. In truth they never even had a singular sound really. Their first album was postpunk-ish, but featured not a single note of guitar played by any of them. Instead, it was all samples of guitars from other bands' albums. A true rock album for the digital future.

If I had to describe Milemarker though it would be similar to what I just outlined with the guitar samples. They certainly had an affinity for guitars -- heavy ones, that incorporated plenty of fancy scales and weird riffs. But they also dabbled plenty in electronics and the non-analog. But unlike a band like The Faint -- who were probably a pretty good descriptive contemporary -- Milemarker wasn't incorporating synths and the like as a throwback to the 80's. There was no nostalgia. Their synths were cold and from the far future.

Anaesthetic is an amazing album. It's pink and has a unicorn on the cover. It's liner notes are hidden -- you have to actually take the jewel case apart to read a single word.

Opener "Shrink to Fit" is fast, abbrassive, hardcoreish with those icy synths I mentioned. It's a call to arms. If you hear this one you're now along for the ride. This is fist-pumping music. Fuck those radiowaves coming from the tower on the hill! We've got to take it back!

"Quick Trip to the Clinic" is robo-punk. Perhaps an assault on Ikea?

"Lost the Thoughts, But Kept the Skin" is Roby's vocal highlight here. She re-recorded it as a straight piano torch song on the subsequent SATANIC VERSUS, but the full band version is heavy as hell.

Indeed all 7 tracks here are solid and each has its own special "Thing" that makes it stand out. But it's "Ant Architect" that made me a fan. So much so that when I saw them live and they had technical difficulties that made the show start nearly an hour late and they cut their set short, I begged them to still play "Ant Architect" so much that they finally just gave in and did the 8+ minute epic for me.

It's an unbelievable song. A mad scientist (an architect) is envisioned as the keeper of an antfarm. We, of course, or the ants. A colony running around making tunnels through a world built for us. The slow build of swirling guitar notes and thumping drums ultimately dissolve into a sea of synths and the repeated lyrics:

If the brain is the engine
and the heart is the carburetor,
and the legs are made of rubber
and the spine is made of pipe cleaners
we can build our own people
in any way we choose.
We can push our own buttons
like adolescent gods.
We can bask in the glows
of the new synthetic sun.
The casket you know
is the most comfortable one.


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