Conformist: Lifestyle Bible – album review
(Consumer Consumer Records)
Louder than War’s Ioan Humphreys gets pleasantly pulverised by unrelenting break beats, samples and glitch.
Cardiff based electronic producer Conformist (aka Michael Simmons) releases his new album “Lifestyle Bible” on the 14th of October 2016 through Consumer Consumer records. I reviewed the lead single Komputer Jenerated’ for LTW here and was absolutely blown away by the noise this guy makes. So i am absolutely delighted to be able to listen to the full album.
First off what hits you are the song titles. They are great tongue in cheek nods to modern life that are actually spot on observations. ‘Trust Exercises’; ‘Nothing important happened today’, ‘Life! Death! Prizes!’. They sum up 21st century living perfectly as does the music attached to them. Album opener ‘Trust exercises’ starts off with glitch noises and a drum beat like a jack hammer. Various noises, samples and at times, quite corrosive sounds come in and out of the track to create a cacophony of noise that has an immediacy and impact very reminiscent of early Ministry?
Quickly followed by ‘Rock N Roll Dead Man’, this starts with a nice throbbing drum and bass line that runs throughout the track. More samples are plied over the top and the refrain of ‘Rock and Roll’ amidst the chaotic glitch is catchy.
‘Harm hides a home’ has more glitch and quite a punishing repetitive beat that is very welcome. ‘Life! Death! Prizes!’ unsurprisingly has a darker tone to the previous tracks. The samples feel noisier and more throaty. ‘A snake eating its own tail’ has more punishing beats that ramp up to be the LPs most ferocious and ‘in your face’ track. Yet, at the same time as it being one of the stand out tracks of the LP, it also feels like the most cohesive track that has a more ‘traditional’ song structure. This, however, is not necessarily a good or bad thing. ‘Traditional’ song structure is something that doesn’t exist in the minds of artists like Conformist and for that i am grateful. I like chaos and nonconformity. That is why i love the fuck out of this LP!
Anyway, enough of me As the LP comes to its natural close, the glitch and corrosive noise and multiple samples just don’t lay off. That is until the gloriously titled album closer ‘Nothing important happened today’ kicks in and you are presented with the most laid back track of the record. Almost no glitch and with limited samples, this is another ‘normal’ track that you can get your head around!
When i reviewed Komputer Jenerated’ I said something along the lines of “it doesn’t make sense, but it doesn’t have to. Music and art doesn’t always have to make sense” And i meant it. Just look at Aphex Twin or Squarepusher or Jackson Pollack or Mark Rothko. Sometimes art doesn’t have to make sense for one to appreciate it. I can see how Conformist’s art wouldn’t make sense to some, but amongst its confusion and ‘noise’ and chaos, it makes a lot of sense. I may have picked out two tracks that conform to ‘traditional’ song writing, but i personally think the whole album does conform. But, fuck it what is ‘traditional’ anyway!!? This LP is what it is. It’s danceable, it’s very good art and I for one want more Conformist in my life. Buy it now.