When I think of all the mutant strains of noise and/or noise-rock out there, Aufgehoben still has a way of sounding wonderfully singular. Their noise is a wholly distinct one and although it operates as a group, Aufgehoben shares more in common with academic noise architects like Kevin Drumm or Russell Haswell than the negative creep of groups like Hair Police and Wolf Eyes. Through the most brute force attack and careful consideration of each aspect of its music, the group manages to overcome the mundanity that plagues a good portion of what passes for noise these days.
Like some other great artists before them (CAN, Faust, Miles Davis, etc.), Aufgehoben normally uses a long-term editing process after its initial recording to carve out a resultant mass from raw material. This was discussed in greater detail in my interview for DOA last year with the group. Khora was actually recorded way back in 2005, approximately one year after the recordings for 2006's Messidor. This led to Aufgehoben's Stephen Robinson referring to them as "sister albums." Make no mistake, Khora follows an upward trajectory from the previous album, which is no small feat since Messidor was pretty goddamn incredible.
Khora is essentially split into halves. The first of these halves is made up of a sequence of three songs called "Ignorance Oblivion Contempt," "Annex Organon," and "A Bastard Reasoning." These are shorter pieces that focus on the musicians' seemingly wild abandonment of all structure and logic. Things start out loud and abrasive and the group only ratchets up the intensity from there. It would all probably fall apart in the hands of a less capable group, but here each player manages to utilize this chaos. They don't try to unwisely control or manage the walls of screeching electronics and stereo guitar feedback, instead the band just lets loose while its dual drummers establish a broken backbone that constantly lurches forward. The second half of the album is 30 minutes of pummeling punishment entitled "Jederfursich." Here, Aufgehoben gives us raw matter as there was no editing from the initial recording. It sounds as if their amps are melting down from being overloaded with a gross amount of distortion. For nearly any other band to attempt something like this would be overstepping the bounds of its capabilities. For Aufgehoben it seems like the band is really flexing its muscles and it accomplishes something entirely beautiful as a result. Noise that is clear and concise in its
Aufgehoben has effectively raised the bar for every avant-rock and noise group operating today. Khora is the result of time well spent on the band's part at attempting perfection. Here it just may be that they have achieved such an end, the total cleansing hinted at by the dark water on the album's cover, a tidal wave of destruction sweeping away everything in its path.