May I Meet My Accuser

Imaginary Conflict

The genius of what Magas has wrought with May I Meet My Accuser is a violent hybrid of the minimalist electro-terror of Suicide with the harder, grittier, dancier side of mid ’80s industrial music — in particular, I’m thinking Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Nitzer Ebb and Alien Sex Fiend. With an added dash of Residents’ weirdness and Detroit house precision. But Magas displays a more minimalist, though buzzing with distortion and white noise, take on both. No Wave? Sonically, I really don’t see it; it’s lazy criticism based on his pedigree and CV (Lake of Dracula, the Many Moods of Marlon Magas). Aesthetically? Oh god, yes — in the callous disregard for rock strictures and dance floor fascism.

With May I Meet My Accuser, Magas has left Skin Graft’s side of town and ventured closer to Wax Trax Records. Not a bad thing at all — this record is fucking amazing. Overloaded, feeding back, one-fingered keyboard lines played deliberately off-kilter, are overlaid with primitive dance beats and Magas himself coming off like a more louche and street-level Lux Interior (that same sleazy authority in his voice). Fellow Lake of Dracula alums Bill Skibbe and Jessica Ruffins lend their particularly twisted talents to the album and the missing piece comes in a mastering job courtesy of Lake of Dracula/Flying Luttenbachers man Weasel Walter. It’s a downright family affair, I suppose, in the same way that the Peoples Temple was a family. Every song sounds like it was played on the crappiest keyboard imaginable (actually no, it was a vintage ARP synth) run through, in Rube Goldberg/Frippertronics style, six-million distortion pedals. With every riff slightly phase-shifted, woozy and out-of-sync. And it fucking grooves, baby. Did I mention that I worship this record, placing burnt offerings to it on my Alan Vega shrine? Oh yes.

Tracks like “Chicagocide” come off as an impatient, minimalist execution of metal fury; you can seemingly feel each jab and strike at the keyboard, until the distorted “solo” destroys everything. At times like this and “May I Meet My Accuser,” the keyboards actually mimic the martial lurch of thrash metal. Other tunes like “One Hundred Ten” and “Highway Hat” exude a completely sublime, gonzo electro-slime.

Magas has easily created one of the more exciting debuts that I’ve encountered in some time. Yes, it’s my idea of fun.


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