Four new tracks from the local rapper, produced by Kiltervision and Amuck himself. Amuck sings almost as much as he raps here, and the tracks pull from industrial music and rock as much as from contemporary electronic music, meaning the whole thing feels fresh, but at the same time like something that would've made alt-rock radio in 1996. Amuck's flow is quick, clever and sometimes toes the line between aggressive and nerdy, in a good way. A good, exhilarating listen.
If you're a longtime Pittsburgher, you probably have some idea of what to expect from Squonk Opera — the group's output is kind of predictably unpredictable, and Squonk has essentially defined itself without many outside referents for more than 20 years. Pneumatica is no different: kind of a proggy rock opera with no words, sometimes heavy, sometimes airy. (And that's by design: Pneumatica is a show about air.) Sometimes that proggy operatic-ness isn't working in Squonk's favor, especially since this is the audio part of a performance piece, and on CD, we're missing the live visual element, left only with a sometimes-cheesy-sounding soundtrack, especially at its more epic, anthemic moments. But there are plenty of curious points: Hey, those are bagpipes! Are those bagpipes run through effects? I think maybe! Not a passive listen, but an interesting aural experience if you're engaged.