CASSETTE WEEK 2021 RELEASE
Ramp Local [300 made]
Stice vocalist Caroline Bennett aka Crab (formerly of Kiddy Pool, which would later become Machine Girl), and producer Jake Lichter aka Jark (of Maine experimental rock trio Lunch Cult) like to imagine they met as teens on the website Chatroulette, and immediately bonded over their mutual interest in the far corners of the Internet. Since their formation, Stice has been making warped industrial dance for the internet age, capturing the chaos of the digital cosmos with a bombastic and frantic absurdism. Stice’s newest effort Stice’s Satyricon, named after the Greek gladiator picaresque by Petronius, is among the darkest, most putrid, most nutso grab-bag of tunes that the duo has thus far cooked up.
Around 2018, the two began to email lyric snippets and sound files back and forth, which Jark, using cracked copies of Cubase and FruityLoops, dutifully assembled into rudimentary beats on his Lenovo ThinkPad. Early tracks like “Vore Night” and “My Life as a Dog in Heat” proved minor SoundCloud sensations on its Industrial chart, and the duo started to gain traction on Blogspots and Tumblrs for their aggressively crackbrained vocal stylings and frenetic fever-dream production. Compiled on their first outing The Very Best of Stice (2019), selections from this era mined such far-flung territory as the soundtrack to the PS2 tie-in video game Shark Tale (2004) and snippets of bar mitzvah hip-hop, spinning unlikely samples into booming in-your-face hype anthems. Their music videos, always directed by and starring Crab, meanwhile, gained cult followings for their shoestring resourcefulness and hyperactive editing, akin to a bad trip while surfing an iPad.
Now, Stice’s Satyricon might be the pair’s most unabashedly foul affair yet. Tracks like “I Piss Myself” channel the raw vigor of ‘00s Myspace forumcore and the attendant .jpeg-compressed filth of the unmoderated web. “Screaming like Shittt'' sounds as if Atari Teenage Riot had helmed the The Rugrats Movie (1999) soundtrack, while “Ollygoshawda'' packs all the desperation and angst of a mutant high school talent show gone off the rails. Perhaps drawing on her musical lineage in Machine Girl’s forerunner group Kiddy Pool, Satyricon sounds almost like a Machine Girl album drawn to its most delirious and scatological extremes (Crab jokes that Stice is a Machine Girl “spite band”). These songs run a mile a minute, cycling through a torrent of emotions and genres, ranging from the shambolic breakcore of Nero’s Day at Disneyland to the gonzo zolo of Cardiacs to the ADHD mash-ups of 100gecs. In the world of Stice, bodily functions and urges get all mixed up, turned in on one another, repressed one moment and uncontrollably erupting the next (Per the title track: “Every time I pee, I cum religiously”); it’s Bataille’s outrageous eroticism for the post Vine age.