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Experimental Music Album Review: "Virology Lab" by Snee-Nee-Iq

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Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.

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Snee-Nee-Iq’s Virology Lab is one of the most experimental synth journeys on which I’ve ever been taken. I have to say I found it deeply unnerving and full of dark emotion. I would call it more of an auditory exploration than an album. For me, it was a thought experiment into how sound can create and sustain some very unsettling emotions.

I cannot say I found it easy to listen to, but I do respect Snee-Nee-Iq for how he went about creating the sonic world of the album. I don’t mind the occasional challenge to my definition of music and this album certainly did challenge me in a unique, interesting way.

This is an album full of unsettling, bizarre and distorted sounds that radiate a sense of menace as they expand through the tracks. The auditory landscape is harsh, twisting and full of a feeling of danger and utterly alien power. There’s a cacophony of glitches, flanging and howling sounds that scream and warp, shift and bend.

It isn’t so much music as a sonic exploration of mental states generated by the timbres, tones and auditory interactions. There’s chaos but out of the chaos sometimes brief order or pattern appears. The album is calculated to generate a feeling of strangeness, of experimentation and of potential danger.

The soundscape can scream with stark terror at some times and at others feel harsh and gritty. Each rattling growl or rubbery wriggle of sound adds its own feeling. I am not really going to break down the music as I do, since it really is best taken as a comprehensive whole.

Each track seems to evoke another soundscape. One might be high and tense while the another snarls and bends, one noise like squelching rubber and another a sharp-edged line of slicing sound cutting over the heaving, seething noise under it. Each sonic fragment challenges the ears as it unfolds.

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I feel, given the world’s recent experience with the horror that a virus can wreak, that this album is a terrifying expression. It evokes the way that these alien things, so crucial to the history of humanity can threaten and endanger us. The best way for me to review this music is to talk about what emotions it elicits in me.

I find it deeply unnerving as the sonic palette of this album unfolds, uncomfortably glitchy and full of gut-churning distortion. There’s something disturbing about the way it exists outside of normal auditory stimulation. It is truly atmosphere that defines this album, a constant dread that lurks at the back of one’s mind before flowering into full-blown terror.

The way that all of the flanging, squelching and writhing combines generates mental imagery of rapidly multiplying viruses under a microscope. It is all bubbling and seething, like a malignant blight of invisible invaders seeking to infiltrate and damage, to perpetuate its own replication.

Each howling, utterly alien sound speaks to the deep anxiety as something we cannot see, something that puts us in mortal danger keeps growing and developing. The album’s weird soundscape is permeated by the horror of something that has no internal logic except to take over and infect whatever it can, to aggressively perpetuate its own existence. The destruction wrought as it does so is immaterial to it.

Snee-Nee-Iq has achieved a sensation of the sonically bizarre that generates very uncomfortable emotions on this album. This album keeps one tense and off-kilter as it unfolds. The notions of replication and endless surging multiplication permeate the sonic landscape with hypnotic and otherworldly sensations.

The imagery is stark and full of the kind of sounds that make one feel something outside of normal, daily routine auditory experience. The emotions that arise are not comforting at all. We are plunged into a universe free of human rules, a place of endless growth and a merciless force that will dominate until there is nothing left for it to do but keep seeking hosts, to never stop mutating in order to become more efficient.

I felt mentally exhausted after listening to this album. I don’t view that as a criticism. Snee-Nee-Iq has succeeded in producing a soundscape that evokes a visceral reaction in the listener. One of the main goals of music should be creating emotion. Although Virology Lab pushes the definition of music to the edge, it still qualifies as music for creating an emotive reaction in me.

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