When the distinction between noise and sound is blurred to such an uncompromising degree as it is on Khora, we're left alone in the middle of the storm without compass or maps. Each moment of this music hurls a new question into the squall. Where do the shadows end and solid objects begin? At what point did horror and ecstasy become indistinguishable? If this is the sound of disintegration or corrosion, how far are we into the process? If we're beyond half-way, does this mean we're actually listening to something new emerging from the debris? Aufgehoben's free rock operates at a level of such apocalyptic intensity that it's all this enfeebled listener can do to alternate between cowering behind the sofa and reeling off the kind of purple pontifications that comprise this paragraph.
John Coxon (Spring Heel Jack) once described Aufgehoben as having been "edited into existence", referring to the fact that the group's albums, though based on improvisation sessions, result from a long process of hard disk surgery overseen by drummer Stephen Robinson. But just as his massively overloaded constructs initially allowed the Brighton based quartet to discover their musical identity, so their emergence over the last two years as a live outfit has left an imprint on his processes. There is a stronger sense of a group presence on Khora than on their previous four albums, and while Robinson still delights in subjecting the source material to the most punishing indignities of distortion, that same material nevertheless asserts itself as the main agent in determining the character and direction of the finished composition.
It's also noteworthy that the album culminates in the unedited half-hour track "Jederfürsich", in which Gary Smith's guitar notes peel off like stripped paint, two drummers flail away on kits that sound like their on fire, and monumentally bloated low-end electronics hoover up the detritus. Like solarized video footage, the music's movement and contours are recognisable as proceeding from the natural world, but only just.
Aufge' have one live performance planned for this year. The band will be playing the Hokaben Music Festival (93ft East venue on Brick Lane) in London on Nov. 8th.