The harsh noise of Evicshen’s Hair Birth will leave your head spinning | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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The harsh noise of Evicshen’s Hair Birth will leave your head spinning


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Massachusetts-based sound artist and instrument maker Victoria Shen, who performs as Evicshen, makes music that rattles your brain. Her debut LP, Hair Birth (American Dreams), is a master class in explosive cacophony driven by blaring modular synthesizers. This isn’t just unregulated noise: Shen puts thought into her songcraft, and it’s immediately apparent right from the opening track, “Current Affair,” which begins innocuously with a bit of rumbling and a tiny beep before ramping up into an unrepentant yet intricately textured roar. The track maintains a constant tension, as revved-up electronics and sci-fi synth warbles coalesce into a murky goop and high-pitched tones flicker like fairy lights. After almost seven minutes, it transitions into “Under the Stall Door,” which feels like an electronic cyclone approaching at full speed, making its physicality felt in every barreling, ferocious moment. Shen wisely allows for moments of repose—“Classical Mechanics” and the beginning of “Funhouse Mirror Stage” are relatively tame—but even during that relative calm, you can’t help but stay on your toes, constantly on alert for Shen to bring the racket again. And the racket she brings: the glitchy wall of sound on “Bolete” is at once psychedelic and meditative, and “Fever Pitch” ends the album with a mesmerizing eruption of harsh noise. Hair Birth demands your full attention, burrowing into your skull, and there's no escaping the onslaught.   v

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