Xanopticon's dystopian breakcore | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Xanopticon's dystopian breakcore 


"It's as if I were watching a movie, and then suddenly were acting in it." This quote from '70s Satanist horror flick The Devil's Rain starts off Psicicite, the second LP on German label Hymen by Pittsburgh-based breakcore wunderkind Xanopticon (a.k.a Ryan Friedrich). Yet a better filmic reference for his music might be a cross between Hellraiser, Aliens, Event Horizon and Terminator, as there are definitely aspects of terror, science fiction and technology gone awry in his dystopian realm.

I don't know how many times reviewers have used "relentless" and "barrage" to describe Xanopticon's constantly changing machine-gun rhythms and dark, glurpy synth textures punctuated by tiny samples. But suffice it to stay that meticulously constructed tracks like "Bedowra" and "Psicicite" are the sonic equivalent of being chased down a claustrophobic metal corridor in some godforsaken farflung space outpost by a horde of metal cyborg centipedes, their gleaming incisors going snicker-snack inches from your boots.

Live, Xanopticon's music has an even greater effect. At considerable volume, it literally feels like you're being killed -- not bludgeoned to death by monotonous techno or industrial, but flayed alive by a thousand little cuts to the cranium.

It's a feeling only the brave will attempt, but once they do, there's no reverting to the mundane beat-merchants in their CD collections. Once you hear the artist a local university professor once called "the Cecil Taylor of electronic music," you'll turn those Meat Beat Manifesto, Paul Oakenfold and DJ Shadow discs into beer coasters, and pursue an existence of pure anarchy and violence inside an endless Nintendo universe. "Hell is only a word. The reality is much, much worse."



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