Album Review: 3AM – Transmissions

(Lay Bare Recordings)

The mantra “less is more” is what Peruvian underground heavy music artist Chino Burga takes to heart and showcases with his most personal project to date, the one man drone outfit 3AM. Beginning out of sheer boredom and technological curiosity, Burga creates music that is pillared on the minimalistic influences of [Suicide founder] Alan Vega along with the intensity Ron Asheton brought to the Stooges by utilizing only his voice, sampling, loops, a drum machine and multitude of pedal effects. His second release under this guise, Transmissions, is his debut on Dutch heavy music powerhouse Lay Bare Recordings and picks up where his overall debut release [UFO Blue Tapes – Levitation Records] left off with a continuation of intensely emotional songwriting cut with lo-fi production techniques. Instead of curbing more towards the slower n’ heavy side of the subgenre as groups such as SunnO))) & Earth have done so and dominated the subsonic landscapes for some time, 3AM is more in style of a post-punk sound with elements of Soviet era electronic music, krautrock and some transcendental white noise thrown in.

Records like these appeal to a niche audience and it’s understandable as sitting through most albums of this caliber can get monotonous as it spins on. However, Burga seemed to compose the eight tracks of Transmissions with this thought in mind and it shows with each track having a distinct feel to itself across the record. Reading a bit of background of the composition of this record, the route he took was all he with the recording techniques sounding a bit primitive but also on point with what he seemed to want to achieve (whatever that may be); he makes his point clear throughout the record. High energy and up-tempo bursts of sound appear on tracks such as “UHF”, a lo-fi take on the Ramones “Rock n’ Roll Radio” and “You’re Never Gonna Bring Me Down” while the more hypnotic, repetitive and lysergic fueled cuts appear with “Flying Low”, “A Minute” and the appropriately titled (of course while under the right influence) “Joy”. The later tracks being good companions for a stress relieving bender that we all need once in a while if you’re into that sort of thing. “Condor’s” riff seems to go on forever with the only aspect present throughout the track is the scaling licks that are prevalent throughout the eight-minute jam. “Rocks” is easily the most aggro track on this album with Burga going back to his punk roots with a singular crunching riff throughout.

All in all, Transmissions is a solid solo piece and exemplifies only a bare minimum of tools are needed to get the sounds in your head into reality, just as Burga’s done with this.

Purchase the album here.

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