Alfarmania – From Fix to Fix CD Old Captain 2015
Originally issued on Proiekt Hat’s tape label Hatband in 2004, ‘From Fix to Fix’ was Kristian Olsson’s first official foray under the guise of his new (at the time) musical project Alfarmania. Although containing some rough analogue qualities similar to Survival Unit, rather than the aggressive and antagonistic approach of that project, ‘From Fix to Fix’ demonstrated Alfarmania’s intent to deliver a more subdued postmortem sound infused with foreboding angst. Alfarmania also differentiated itself by focusing on junkie and drug culture, rather than the political focus of Survival Unit.
The title track leads off the album as an industrial noise meets post-mortem sound (at its murkiest), including drudging and lurching loops, queasy oscillations, shrill fire alarm bells and sporadic drug referencing samples; thus with its miasmic swirling quality it represents a solid and focused introduction. The lengthy piece ‘The Pale Horse Riders’ is another excellent track of muffled churning industrial tonality, oscillating analogue drones and layered sustained distortion. The incorporation of a morbid death industrial pounding structure late in the piece provides some warranted focus, whilst extend drug use/ user related samples again hammer down the chosen theme. Moving back towards more chaotic sonorities, ‘Lossa Stasen’ features scattered metallic scrapping junk metal and fluttering higher toned noise and slow thudding drums of doom set within cavernous echoed tonal atmosphere. The pair of short tracks ‘Immune to Boredom’ and ‘Down and Dirty’ both feature clanging/ swirling/ chaotic industrial noise soundscapes, before the album launches headlong into the extended depths of depravity of ‘Sanatorium Alfarmania’ – a 25 minute audial representation of the decent into drug induced psychosis. Here mechanized factory loops and buzz saw tones sit within a cavernous rumbling tonal mass, which draws the listener deep into the long form composition. Being sprawling and freeform, over its extended length additional sounds are added for harder effect (chaotic distortion, scattered siren noise, semi-buried agonized vocalizations etc.), it generates a psychedelically nightmarish effect in the process.
In reflecting of where this album sits within Alfarmania’s creative arc, it is noted to contain tracks which are relatively focused and structured, thus differentiating it from later output from the project which featured a slightly looser, abstract and psychedelic post-mortem sound. The cover collage artwork of courtesy of Kristian is an excellent visual representation of the feel and mood, although the quality/ thickness of the cardboard stock of the digi-pack could clearly have been improved. Having missed the original tape, it is great to finally be able to hear this album, being the focused initial strike of the now lauded Alfarmania.