Justin Lakes has been in projects like Friends with Corpses (with Joel Walter of Inbreeder) and the newly-formed Surgical Improv Ensemble (with JR Nelson of Saran Man and Chris Hansell of Ligature). He also has a history of solo projects, of which Shredded Nerve is the most contemporary. In addition to the Retention 7" on Torn Light Records, Shredded Nerve has released a handful of cassettes and digital files.
Retention features two pieces of collaged noise and musique concrète. The A-side "Mind Begins to Crumble as Dots are Connected (alternate)" begins with the sound of a yawning mosquito, which repeats and takes on the role of a rhythmic signifier before a nightmare clang, reminiscent of sounds Freddy Krueger's boiler room, jars the listener from an already discomforting atmosphere. Then things get chaotic. Harsh blasts of wall noise barrage with only tidbits of the original ambience cutting through static overdrive.
Side B, the title track, is equally unnerving. Rhythm in this piece takes on a monstrous quality, where screeching pulses eject a steady, chopped gurgling and sputtering from its central place. It calls to mind Donna Haraway's haunting essay "A Cyborg Manifesto," an absolutely essential critique on technology and how it affects daily life in the modern era, in that the piece begins with a sound that might be human. It is then distorted and manipulated into uncanny cacophony, which I can't help but think echoes man breaking from his old form, becoming one with the New Flesh.