27 May 2022

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Fear Up Harsh - Fear Up Harsh - Album Review: Fear Up Harsh (II)

28 Mar 2022 // A review by Peter-James Dries

There is a rumour that, when played simultaneously, Fear Up Harsh (II) syncs perfectly with Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control.

The rumour is a lie of course, like many rumours are, but you’d be forgiven for believing it. Both are enigmatic works of cinematic wonder, not always appreciated, understood, or even known by the unfeeling majority.

Last time I encountered half of Fear Up Harsh, I alluded to Nine Inch Nails’s Ghosts I – IV - perhaps even too much (refer to my review of Interlude in the House of Life). Convenient then that the next time I encounter Ferriss, Ghosts V – VI has been released. The comparison to these pieces - which almost feel like orphan art considering Reznor's back catalogue - is still fitting, and I could lazily fall back on it for this review. But that wouldn't do this album the justice it deserves. I will just say that if you like NIN for their soundtracks, and not because you’re a former-posing-angsty-teen, then Fear Up Harsh (II) is definitely a release you want to check out.

Like their first, Fear Up Harsh’s second outing is the soundtrack to a film that never was. It’s movements a collection of scenes. Across the run time you will feel and hear tropical psychedelics, the calls of sirens in the night, the pitter-patter of digital rain on a hollow windchime, organic growth between the concrete and a distorted crowd, a Tamagotchi stretched by the arms like a plasticine doll, all of this bookended by a swirling darkness. Frenetic moments interspersed with tranquillity. It is a treatise on introspection, and at times aggression. An onslaught of heavy metal for edgy androids against the backdrop of a vibrant ocean vista.

There is the feeling of a live performance. You can almost see the ghosts in the machine. Players feeding off of each other’s energies. Microcosmic jamming, small reactions and personal tangents, that never lose sight of the macrocosmic intention and emotion of each the piece. In a way it’s more structured and concise than the two hour space odyssey that was Fear Up Harsh (I), but they are very much born of the same unrestrained beast.

There is no lead single to plug here. It’s a journey, and snapshots never do the trip justice. It’s something best experienced than recounted. Put it on while you work from home, and feel the weather change.

You can find Fear Up Harsh (II) on Bandcamp and from JB HiFi. Five concentric circles out of five.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Fear Up Harsh

Fear Up Harsh is Michael Ferriss and Jeffrey Gane (with occasional guests).
Their music is electronic/acoustic improvisations combining polyrhythms of electronic pulses with the acoustic percussion, creating an organic blend of unique sounds with a touch of theatrics born out of Jeff's acting work.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Fear Up Harsh


Fear Up Harsh (II)
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Fear Up Harsh
Year: 2019
Type: Album

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