PUBLISHED IN SIDE-LINE MAGAZINE
Portion Control - Wellcome (CDC self- released/portion-control.net)
Portion Control have returned with an ambitious 2 disc set called "Wellcome." It has been over 18 years since their last LP, the cyber-punk cult classic, "Psycho Bod Saves the World." These pioneers of hard electronic music have concocted a brilliant work of art that clearly defies any pre-determined genre classification, proving once again Portion Control are still masters of manipulating the beat. As with all of the classic PC releases, careful detail has been given to the visual as well as the audio. "Wellcome" comes packaged in a shatterproof poly-propolene plastic case. Bloodied images which offer no explanation are smeared into the sleeves of this epic. Perhaps it's a meat cart full of cut slabs being pushed down the hall on its way to the freezer, or a surgical experiment that has gone horribly wrong, or themes of which may have been inspired by the works of the late Dr. Henry Wellcome. The two discs inside have been dubbed "liver" and "fat," of which these 26 choice cuts have been broken up into 4 separate sections: beef, mutton, veal, and viscose.
At over two hours in length, "Wellcome" is not so much a collection of songs, but is a sonic journey into a world that reveals more nuances with each listen. A patchwork of musical styles are explored; hard rhythmic electronic noise, cinematic ambient, with minor elements of drum-n-bass and eerie electronica. Unlike PC's former releases, "Wellcome" focuses mainly on the instrumental and experimental aspect. Longtime fans might be a bit disappointed by the lack of lyrics, however Dean Piavanni's raw and intense vocals are fully audible on a few of the tracks, most notably the catchy single-oriented "Blind Eyes," and "Coma," with its infectious lyrics and electronic pulses, (not unlike that of a hospital monitoring device) are reminiscent of early PC brought up to date with modern sounds. Both songs carry on that agressive "electro-punk anthem" style that Portion Control perfected in the 80's with such classics like "Chew You To Bits," "Raise the Pulse, " and "Brain Scraper Death Dive."
The two centerpieces on each disc must be "Onion Jack" and "Onion Jack 2." Two equally powerful movements, "Onion Jack" is the more instrumental of the two with it's dark ambient film score style. "Onion Jack 2" is a 25 minute monstrous slab of sound, accentuated by vocal tauntings about PC's latest character, "Onion Jack." Overall, Portion Control has successfully combined the heart of their past with the technology of today to create one of the most essential records of the year. At the moment this CD is only available via Portion Control's website, portion-control.net. (CH:9/10) CH.