Valley Of The Dead
Killeur Calculateur seem dedicated to pissing everyone off. The four members of Smek and Rafique (vocals, guitars), Zamir (vocals, bass) and Alijo (drums) that make up this Malaysian post-punk/math core band have no doubt infuriated spelling bee fascists with their band name, while their cacophonic approach to music will certainly have horrified “sophisticated listeners” who insist that crotchets and quavers should be consumed on spiffy white plates, and with silver spoons. Surely this is bad maths?
It is surely not. For sheer eccentricity alone, Killeur Calculateur deserve multiple bonus marks. And as their relentless gigging has demonstrated, they are no mere contrarians. The band are fiercely dextrous in the arena of shifting time signatures, and utterly audacious in their deconstruction of traditional AB-AB song structures (theirs is more AB-WTF, or thereabouts). The initial novelty of watching Smek and Zamir exchange screeches during performances is often replaced by awe over the complex musical bustle being crammed into mere minutes.
Yet after three years and a couple of demos, the band’s latest EP Valley Of The Dead represents a different kind of challenge. Live, audiences at a Killeur Calculateur gig are so often mesmerised by the raw power on display that there is a tendency to ignore the presence of any actual song (heck, they could be squawking about their breakfast menu, for all anyone knows). But on record, stripped of the sight of perpetually gyrating men, the tunes are subject to tighter aural scrutiny. Is all that belly-belching really just a gimmicky shroud for amateurism?
Let’s start with the EP’s length: a ridiculously short nine minutes. Post-rock bands have entire songs longer than that, damn it. Yet by keeping things so brief, Killeur Calculateur manage to perk interest without overpromising. Opener ‘Mother Of Destruction’ throws some post-punk jabs without settling on a kille(u)r hook while ‘Tigers Gone Ape’ leaves just enough room at its backend for some gang shouted refrains of “You’re gonna get it!”. They’re lying, of course; we’ll never get it, but such ignorance only fuels the moshing flames.
Like the cover that pays homage to cruddy zombie B-movies, Valley Of The Dead spares little sympathy for anything remotely polished. A bulbous trumpet (courtesy of Aziz from experimental band Ciplak) seems to pare down the lunacy in ‘Slow Death’–until it too accelerates into dissonance, perhaps lured by those obnoxious guitar interjections that blared while it was trying to carve out some semblance of melody.
Taken from Junk's May 2009 issue
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