Before we move forward, it’s important that you know the story behind 1. Grrr and the two discs that follow it (2. Tok and 3. Ahhh, respectively). Tétreault and Yoshihide are turntablists, albeit turntablists of a different stripe: above and beyond scratching, cutting and so forth, they favor modified turntables and heavily processed sounds, and are prone to applying their stylii to items other than vinyl records (1. Grrr’s liner photo shows Yoshihide attempting to “play” a small cymbal). In early 2003, the pair played a fifteen date tour, improvising a fresh set of turntable-derived aural extremity every night. Several of these sets were recorded, and their highlights were used to create three different live albums, each one based around a specific sonic theme. 1. Grrr, as its title implies, collects the loudest and most abrasive bits.
Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. If you’ve ever been put off by an album that was made with recognizable musical instruments, you have little or no hope of getting through 1. Grrr, a series of abrasive drones, grinding sounds, piercing squeals and other sounds from the angry end of the sonic palette. Even if you regularly listen to so-called “noise” records, and can detect the art in 1. Grrr’s assault - the textures, the nuances of physical manipulation, the fleeting moments of beauty - seventy minutes of this material is a punishing slog. It’s possible to play it as pure background music, but eventually some portion of it will get to you. In our office, the odds-on favorite is Grenoble no 1 / Le 102, 29.04.03, which adds a piercing, migraine-inducing squeal to the various low-register rumbles.
The thing is, albums like 1. Grrr are nuclear weapons for your record collection - it’s important to play them once, so that the world around you knows just how far you’re prepared to go. After that, you need merely threaten to play it again and watch how quickly people cooperate with you. Eventually, friends or your common sense will encourage you to get rid of 1. Grrr, but don’t; you’ll sleep better at night knowing it’s there.