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Best of 2024

The Hafler Trio, Bruce Gilbert

Idiots (2LP)

Label: Nihilist

Format: 2LP

Genre: Experimental

In stock


** Heavyweight high-gloss embossed jackets with metallic Pantone. Each LP housed in polyethylene acid-free paper backed sleeves within consistently designed 12" sleeves for each record ** Adding to its already extensive discography, The Hafler Trio (now just solo) enlisted the help of Wire's Bruce Gilbert for their latest, Idiots. Grim and far reaching, this 2XLP moves at its own pace and draws the listener in with its slow, dark amble. Channeling both the natural and industrial worlds, Idiots hits many chords during its runtime, although probably not many actual chords. Laughing matter, indeed!.

Built around four long-form tracks, Idiots is an experiment in sound, tones, textures, and tenacity. The latter is not only required of the listener, but also of the Trio itself. Having been active for roughly forty years, Andrew McKenzie continues to grow and evolve, and his tenacity and dedication to his craft pays off very well with Idiots. From the first, dark, sprawling untitled track to the final, interesting amalgamation of sound on the fourth track (also untitled), Idiots challenges the listener to endure an impressive amount of sound and experimentation. Mixing quiet moments with jarring, loud, paroxysms of sound, at times, the album feels more like an experiment on the listener. Maybe Dr. Edward Moolenbeek has rejoined the group to fill his lustful needs for science. The beauty of Idiots is in its ability to mix the familiar with the unknown; tried and true genre sounds and textures shift from traditional layouts into woven layers of interesting arrangements, creating new and intriguing textures. In addition to these slower, more free-form sonic unfoldings, abrasive tones and harsh reminders come to the fore in startling ways, giving the listener pause to reflect on what the piece actually is, as well as give the good Dr. time to take some notes on their reaction.

For its sprawling length and intriguing composition, there aren't too many words one can use to describe Idiots. Some albums are better experienced then read about, and those often come off as very subjective. What sticks out to Listener A may not make a mark on Listener B. And while that really goes for any listening experience, some take this more to heart, and certainly Idiots is on that list. Part of this experience would be the act of flipping the record after each 20+ minute piece, and not only the reflection on what was just played, but the anticipation, and possibly trepidation, of what is to come when the needle hits next.- Musique Machine (Aug. 2023)

Idiots: Laughing Matter 

"Whoever has contact with reality is an Idiot, the word having two meanings:

A) to be oneself;

B) being so, to those in illusion, such a one behaves like an idiot."

Into which hole one falls is never a question of luck or happenstance; the magnetism of our own particular variety (or even 'brand') of stupidity dictates the body of water we shall flow into. An effort of will is not enough to change course; and what, we might ask, could possibly be beyond that?

"Stupid" here, if we care to examine it, means to be insensitive, and the aids to insensitivity are legion. Not only this, but officially sanctioned. Can it be possible (to posit yet another righteous confabulation) to use any medium at all—especially that designed to deaden—to circumvent the flow into dissolution, and move upstream? To be blunt: the culture of deadening the person (leaving the question of "self" for another time, place and manifestation) being endemic, to look askance at it means to incite distrust, and even the most eloquent of minds will sneer at the fool that seeks to point out even the faintest reflection in the dustiest of mirrors.

Conceived in such an environment, "Idiots: Laughing Matter" has taken years to finally complete for a variety of reasons, some of which might have come to pass without divine intervention. At the beginning, Mr. B.C. Gilbert supplied some material which related to it all, in all. After an ocean of time traversed, he bowed gracefully out, but the traces of those fingers are still left in the pie. The imprinted crumbs we are thankful for, indeed. 

To complete is to offer up to three possibilities, and this one is the most honorable available. Initially promised to another, now suffused with the delights of release, it enters the realm of the tangible with little fanfare, but a succinct and pervasive impetus that is informed with intention of an exceptionally high quality.

Remember: the higher climbs the monkey, the more he shows his ass.

Cat. number: 101
Year: 2023
Heavyweight high-gloss embossed jackets with metallic Pantone. Each LP housed in polyethylene acid-free paper backed sleeves within consistently designed 12" sleeves for each record.