Mosquitoes – Vortex Veering Back To Venus LP
“The aural pleasure created by this somewhat mysterious trio of London musicians continues to accrue. After two fine self-released records (one a 7”, th’ other a 12”), and the superb Drip Water Hollow Out Stone on the great Ever/Never label, Feeding Tube is honored to present the Mosquitoes’s latest assault on the temples of beauty.
The music on Vortex is of a piece with earlier recordings. By this, I mean there is a wonderfully “out” approach to basic rock instrumentation and vocals, which detourns the basic assumptions listeners have about what rock instruments sound like. A good number of bands have done this in the modern era, from This Heat to U.S. Maple, but the only band the Mosquitoes continually call to my mind is late period Mars. That NYC unit had pretty much destroyed conventions of song and structure by the time they called it a day, and the instrumental/vocal mangling these guys do is equally brilliant,
They really take every piece of sound apart and put it back together in a weird way. There are passages on Vortex that actually make me think of early Suicide as well (I think they use amp-noise-loops to approximate Rev’s keyboards), but none of the music here has the aggression of Suicide. Instead, it projects a transcendent sense of confusion that is as head-scratching as it is appealing.
If you like your music to be equal parts brains and power, you won’t find many things more satisfying than the music of the Mosquitoes. Every one of their records is great. And they just keep getting better. How lucky for you.”
THE MOZZIES return with their incurable strain of Dipteran dread – the un-swattable rattlings of last year’s “Drip Water Hollow Out Stone” still giving us restless nights a plenty. Perhaps less of an incessant, tunnelling swarm than the aforementioned, “Veering Vortex..” presents itself as a rapidly accumulating, oxygen-depleted bloom. Blood-stalking synth and bass lines sprawl across six tracks, regularly propelled into lucid frenzy by the hysterics of a shuddering, screeching guitar line that can lie dormant for minutes on end and still have you on high alert, sweating, waiting for the next nose dive at your noggin. Deadly stereo image wizardry and a whole new kind of poison deeply embedded in the minimalist synthesis of Mosquitoes. – Low Company, July 2019
The ‘Skeeters are back with a new 12″, following last year’s Drip Water Hollow Out Stone, a deconstructed but nonetheless mysteriously transportive musical vessel. Vortex Veering Back to Venus continues along the same path: vocals sound like they’re speeding past and the tape just caught some indecipherable snippets; a drum kit is pushed over and reassembled in the background; and the guitar and bass whine and throb, respectively, without building up any momentum. Byron Coley name-checks Mars and This Heat (among others) on the Feeding Tube write-up, and I’d add the Shadow Ring and Sightings to that list, and maybe Modra’s The Line For the Men’s Room. Mosquitoes very much exist in the current climate; they magnify the speeding thoughts of the overstimulated masses to an unidentifiable level, slice ‘em up, capture the results in resin and put ‘em under a microscope. None of Mosquitoes’ records sound as simple as a bunch of recordings pieced together, though. Their songs sound painstakingly arranged, incoherent as it may unfold on cursory listens. Vortex Veering Back to Venus adds in a few new moves: some debts settled with Suicide (”VR,” the vocals on “VE”), some shimmering moments that are almost tender until the guitar blows the lid off (“VX,” my favorite track here), and some gobs of swirling grey static thick enough to feel. You won’t be playing Vortex for guests, but if you squint it’s a bit more approachable than Drip Water Hollow Out Stone, though Vortex’s more industrial bent is no less laden with foreboding. John Olson says the “underground should be difficult and on shaky ground”; try your luck with Vortex Veering Back to Venus and see if you agree. – I Feel Like A Porsche, August 2019
London trio Mosquitoes are the next point in the lineage of British post punk that we’ve been waiting 20 years for. There is a presence to this stuff that I really struggle to get a good grasp of, to hold in my hand and understand, and it’s this that I think makes them so compelling a listen. It’s not that they’re a bit anonymous, or that it sounds fragmentary, or loose, as they are all and none of these things at once. To call it loose is to imply it could and should be tighter. To call it fragmentary implies that there’s stuff missing, and there definitely isn’t. It’s fully baked, with effects that render room acoustics like a corrugated metal shed, repeating bass-lines eddying behind serrated guitar, some talking-in-your-sleep vocals that are straight out of Deptford circa 1980, along with a smattering of rim shots, sludgy fuzz, echoes and a whole lotta hiss, crackle and pops of mysterious origin. – Jennifer Lucy Allan / The Quietus, August 2019
U.K. avant-rock project Mosquitoes released one of my favorite albums last year with the Drip Water Hollow Out Stone LP, a brief but dense exploration into the radical deconstructions pioneered by seminal no wave bands like DNA and Mars. Comparisons to these predecessors are nearly inevitable when discussing Mosquitoes, but unlike many other instances of revivalist artists in this genre, they don’t aim to emulate or even to incorporate the styles of influential bands, instead focusing on furthering and paving new ground in this ongoing approach of fragmentary, convention-defying rock music. Vortex Veering Back to Venus shares the previous record’s brevity, clocking in at just over 20 minutes across six tracks, but its subversiveness is even more total. The hints of stuffy, oppressive darkness that lurked at the edges of Drip Water Hollow Out Stone now pervade every element of the band’s style, looming over the listener like the shadow of a spreading storm with razor-sharp percussion strikes as its lightning and lumbering, muffled bass as its thunder. The pieces are even less rhythmic than before—the most we get is a plodding bass drum throb, and sometimes not even that—and instead the drums often function as stabbing punctures in the thick atmospheres being woven, crashing through layers of crackling guitar noise and low-frequency hum. Sparser and more abstract still are the vocals, which sputter and shake somewhere quite a ways away from intelligibility. It all comes to a truly majestic climax with closing track “VS,” which is perhaps Mosquitoes’ finest work yet. – Jack Davidson / Noise Not Music, October 2019