There is much unknown, unclear, and obscured on Stage Poison. The sonic tools on the release are creepy, but the way the unexpected is revealed is far more eerie than any tape hiss. Gurgled sputterings encased beneath a layer of fuzz are scary, but what is scarier is being guided through a rotating theatre of unidentifiable sounds across the four sides of this release. Varying levels of fidelity are pieced together into loops, patterns, and bursts, none of which identify themselves as such until deep into the individual side-length compositions. A distant churn of noise with the intonation of a conversation heard through a wall is revealed to be the scaffolding of a piece, looping in and out as different episodes starring old pieces of musical and media equipment play themselves out to logical but unpredictable ends. Great moments of musicianship shine through the harshness to reveal melodies that carry through the whole release, but are only revealed if the listener is keeping their wits about them.
Stage Poison doesn’t get its kicks through hinting at a breakdown or telegraphing an obvious blast. Rather, the cathartic no-note-in-sight blasting reveals new tension, like the realization someone has been following you and that you have no idea for how long. The four sides convey a clear-but-crooked narrative: a confusing one, an unexpected one, and an unsettling one, but in that way an exciting one. What’s the difference between excitement and anxiety anyhow?