Oscob – Eating Yourself Alive
Recommendation: ✂ (“rental”, “world”, “i can’t close my eyes”, “disintegration”, “iron lung”, “restricted”, “hope”)
Eating Yourself Alive is the first release from Chamber 38, an imprint of the Bludhoney label that is themed around an alternate-reality containment group whose music albums are advertised as “anomalies”. It was created by Oscob, notable for a series of collaborations with artists such as Rez and Digital Sex that resulted in the Virtual High trilogy and Overgrowth, respectively, in addition to being the owner and founder of Bedlam Tapes. Physical copies of Eating Yourself Alive included biohazard containment bags and lighters, both of which have become staples of Chamber 38 media.
This album is textbook broken transmission circa 2011. Each track is roughly one minute in length with jump cut editing. Songs begin and end somewhat randomly and occasionally in the middle of their source material. The majority of samples sound as if they are taken from late-night television, specifically a horror network that’s showing B-movies that are just on the verge of being scary for preteens (e.g. “new blood” and “world”). In this sense, it’s quite similar to telenights by ghosting, a 2014 album that utilized an aesthetic made to evoke unending television advertisements during a feature presentation.
The production on Eating Yourself Alive is its most contentious feature. All tracks are extremely muffled, as if the speakers are being smothered by a pillow. The mid-range is emphasized; there is little-to-no bass or treble, with the exception of some static during songs like the hip-hop ECCOJAMS of “oliver twist”. There is so much broken transmission out there like this, and the extremely lo-fi production does less than enough justice to its source material. The samples effectively evoke the ultra-late-night feel, but the lack of fidelity crosses the line.
Eating Yourself Alive ends up being a cool idea that was not fully realized. That being said, those who do the subculture of broken transmission are almost certainly going to find something here to enjoy, be it the electronic bloops of “i can’t close my eyes”, the creepy lacuna of “hope”, or the ambient feature by western digital on “disintegration”. Additionally, the last four tracks are fantastic and a much better example of what Eating Yourself Alive could have been with a tad bit more focus (“restricted” is wonderfully creepy). For the rest of you, grab the cuts.
1. intro – (0:30)
2. unsolved data – (1:44)
3. megachurch – (1:07)
4. gateway – (1:54)
5. on deadly ground – (0:48)
6. oliver twist – (2:22)
7. rental – (1:21)
8. should (feat. Dezmo) – (1;46)
9. cruising – (1:09)
10. new blood – (1:16)
11. world – (1:24)
12. i can’t close my eyes – (3:09)
13. blind faith (feat. Bonus Fruit) – (2:35)
14. ethereal – (1:01)
15. mass production – (1:37)
16. disintegration (feat. western digital) – (1:55)
17. solace – (1:11)
18. fear – (1:01)
19. dream – (1:24)
20. not now – (0:58)
21. iron lung – (1:09)
22. restrict (feat. .mp3Neptune) – (1:55)
23. hope – (3:36)