Agitated Atmosphere: Forced Collapse ‒ Consider the Weather a Failure

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Christopher Riggs.

Through the span of fifty-one cassette releases via his own imprint, Holy Cheever Church, Christopher Riggs has explored the high art that is inherent in composition through a slew of his own collaborations, solo wanderings, and peer reviews. Riggs is not only a student of guitar but an ignored master, conjuring up gruesome tones and paralyzing stanzas from his expertise. It’s an idea of high art vs. inaccessibility -- of course, the act of enjoyment is in the ear of the listener but through the growing stack of HCC releases, Riggs is challenging the conventional.

With that in mind, Riggs decided to blow the roof off of high concept on his label’s fiftieth release, which happens to be HCC’s first vinyl output. Joined by electronic manipulator and trumpeter Liz Allbee, the duo christened themselves Forced Collapse and sought to alter their musical landscape once more. Keeping their name close to heart, the pair trashes the tired notion of guitar once and for all for a steady stream of abrasive experimentation. The idea of ‘noise’ is forever present in Consider the Weather a Failure. Each side is heavy with grating creations; the sounds of nails on a chalkboard, flesh meeting latex and rubber, industrial machinery grinding its gears in the distance.

Despite this maniacal mechanism deeply rooted in Riggs’ compositions, there is a beauty to be found among the fowl stench of arrant eclecticism. The moments of quiet and solitude that balance the incessant scratches and wails produce a soothing yang. Allbee and Riggs blend their respective din into pillars of syncopated white noise but both are so agile in their playing that when Consider the Weather a Failure hits its calmer points, the true art of their melds is discovered. This playful tug and pull with not only tone, but volume, delivers a kidney punch to those stuck in traditional musical marriages while providing the gentle pick-me-up and dust-off needed for the shock of Consider the Weather a Failure to register beyond a bullying blow. Riggs prides himself on spontaneity and the art of creation and in spite of the ghastly melodies of his partnership with Allbee, the concept presented by Forced Collapse is one that wills all to pay attention for fear of missing the next Big Bang in music.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist who also runs the webzine, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. He writes the Monday News Mash-Up for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

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