In Hong Kong, where a population of roughly 8 million people are packed into a confined area in which little developable land remains, landlords have resorted to illegally subdividing space into tiny cubicles for rent in which all living activities must take place within areas as small as 15 square feet. Known as “coffin apartments”, these nightmarishly claustrophobic holes have been condemned by the United Nations as “an insult to human dignity”.
Coffin Apartment is also the name chosen by a Portland trio whose unsettling music is the subject of this premiere — though in the age of the coronavirus the name has different and perhaps even more relevant connotations.
Trying to succinctly describe the audio assaults of Coffin Apartment is not an easy task. In a freewheeling way they’ve thrown elements of death metal, grind, hardcore punk, sludgy noise rock, and even prog and psychedelia into a blender. The results are heavy as hell, rabidly raging, and mentally destabilizing. Calling the music “off kilter” would be an understatement. But the results are also so surprising and so electrifying as to become unexpectedly transfixing.