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This Cloister Recordings cassette is the second release from Sweden’s Den Arkaiska Rösten (“The Archaic Voices”), the project of Girilal Baars and Per Åhlund. Baars is a professionally trained vocalist who has previously worked with the vocal group Äijä, a composer of operas, and a sound engineer. Åhlund has several solo sound art/electronic projects and has worked with Sophia, among other bands.
This cassette holds two sidelong pieces in which the sounds of the voice, in all of its many forms, are used to create a twisted, haunting landscape. Sounds of mouths, tongues, teeth, saliva, and breathing become howling winds and falling water. Deep utterances that resemble traditional throat singing rise from the lowest register, and a chorus of droning chants builds and closes in. Individual voices can be heard singing melodies or wails of regret, but soon disappear back into the fray. While vocal sounds are the main focus, weird electronics and drum beats can be heard humming beneath. The overall effect is like the spirits of everyone that’s ever lived rising from some ancient burial site to deliver us this cryptic message: it was like you said / it was not like you said.
From Russia’s experimental Post-Materialization Music label comes this bizarre cassette of extremely lo-fi “ethnodub”. The album name “Taharrush Gamea” is Arabic for “group harassment”, and usually refers to mass sexual assault. Very little information about this album or the artist exist. Only 31 of these cassettes were produced, and the artist’s other albums have been released on recycled soviet-era reel-to-reel tape, and 3.5″ floppy disk.
The cassette is seemingly designed to make you wonder if your stereo is busted. It’s an hour of international pop music, played at the wrong speed through unreliable equipment, mixed with crunchy record scratches, cut-up tape loop squiggles, and spooky spoken-word. Broken electronics buzz and hum throughout, and the whole thing sounds like it was recorded underwater. Samples (actually entire songs) are appropriated from a variety of sources: Bollywood dance tunes, Eastern Orthodox chants, Thai power-pop, and (as the artist’s name implies) middle Eastern folk. The result is disorienting (to say the least), like a bad acid trip through the depths of the international library.
Deep sea divers experience a condition called nitro narcosis, an altered mental state that arises from breathing air in a high pressure environment. This cassette sounds what that must feel like – a strange, hallucinatory aquatic voyage. “Pilotage” (T1) opens with underwater echoes and distant melodies; later, electronic sounds appear from the depths like fluorescent sea creatures. “Open Circuit Buoy” (T3) is a 15-minute piece that begins with a dark beat-driven section that opens up into a gorgeous jam, with layered guitars, steady drumming, and an abrupt sample at the end. “Rebreathe” (T4) is another long-playing (25 minute) highlight that plunges to the darkest depths – there’s haunted piano, theremin-like bubbling, electronics with the bends. The cassette ends with “Nitro Narcosis” (T5), with drumming, bells, and electric keys finding a quiet, unhurried groove before fading away.
Power Electronics from Oakland’s Dario Puga, formerly in A Fashionable Disease and current proprietor of The Pet Goat Records. The project, which usually self-releases, is in rare form on this 2016 C30 EP put out by one of the better American noise labels. I hear an affinity for the Finnish scene (Cloama, Bizarre Uproar, Grunt, one-time splitmate Noise Nazi).
Two fifteen minute untitled sidelong slabs of male rage simmering with spontaneity and violence. Texturally complex heavy-synth worship with raw feedback and overdrive crunch counterbalancing a harmonic core. He screams on both tracks, an impressive high-pitched goblin-like sound that may or may not contain words; his voice is also run through some interesting filters on the B-side, which is the more in-your-face side in general. His use of the machines throughout is efficient and well-versed. Both pieces seem like they could have held my attention for much longer than their relatively short spans. He’s a real pro at this, and yes, he has performed here!
Pretty recent Death-Doom Metal from a Death Monk side project (the drummer and guitarist of that group are involved and both do vocals here also). Influences may include Autopsy, Winter, Goatlord and Noothgrush. They cannot quite shed the sludge metal trappings of Death Monk here but there are moments of inspired viciousness that made me surprised to learn this release originated in Santa Cruz.
This group is interested in biological oddities (DIP-ee-gus=two pelvises; see Myrtle Corbin, the Four-Legged Girl From Texas, who was by all accounts refined and charming, going on to conceive five children) unexplained phenomena and bizarre ways to die. There are samples from The X-Files (A3), tarsiers (B2, B3) and a documentary about 1970′s Exploding Whale incident in Oregon (B3). Gritty and eccentric, this debut is an astounding living monstrosity indeed. Recorded directly to cassette. Each 3-song, 15-minute side of the tape tracks together.
Seattle’s Andrew Scott Young is creeping up to be a heavy hitter in the free improv experimental world, hitting the scene playing alongside Weasel Walter’s ‘American Free’ release in 2009 and steadily giggin around the country since. here we have a 2013 release that strays from his usual extended technique free-scrape for some out-of-genre experimentation. the A-side opening with sawed bass string bird calls and spiderleg piano mashing, a tribute to his HS music teacher this feels a sort of new-classical tribal-ritual; blistering reeds sing a windsong with buzzing voices mumbling along and a Himalayan clatter of percussion explodes into a fireworks finale. the B-side plays around electronics, squelchy circuit beats with a parent’s garage sort of lo-fi feel in an 80s action flick aesthetic. the title track seems to have lost the beat and got fixed on a groove skipping about a bit before catching the glitch again. not enough recorded works yet but definitely a name to keep an eye out for.
This 2016 cassette is the second release (check out the first here) from Gothenburg, Sweden duo Amalthea (Jonas Lindgren of Aether and Michael Idehall). Cloister Recordings describes this tape as a mix of “minimalistic industrial” and “noise pop,” which seems like an impossible combination until you dive into these four hypnotic tracks. On the one hand, there are the sounds of pure dread: in T1, a leaden thud falls on each beat, making the seconds drag by achingly; T2 is a long, lingering drone; T4 heaves with agonized wailing and dissonant, distorted tones. But on the other hand, there’s flashes of beauty that keep the whole thing from being a total downer (no offense, you know I get down with a total downer now and then) – take T1′s repeating melodic bass line, the dappled tones in T2, the brilliant stabs and rhythms of T3, the rich, strange harmonies that murmur through T4. The contrasts come together to create an experience of gorgeous, satisfying pain.
Canadian Alan Bloor has been recording Harsh Noise as Knurl since 1994. This tape on LA’s Oxen is from this year. First I was bored, then I was impressed, then I read that it was all made with “iron caging and light gauge stainless steel” and “no overdubs or loopers,” and was very impressed. How the hell does he get such a variety of tone out of a bunch of scrap metal? There’s clearly some kind of processing but I can’t tell if digital or analog effects are being applied. Contact mic? Tape delay? Beats me.There’s a lot of this Freddy Krueger boiler room clang bang boom screech material out there (Skin Graft, Macronympha, Taint and Striations are just a few who dabble in this), but here that conceit is taken further than I’ve usually heard. I really did assume he was working with oscillators. This is quite good. It’s pretty dissonant but it doesn’t seem entriely as dark as some other tapes from this label. It’s hard to explain. Three tracks on the A side, two on B, but with a continuous feel.
Side A: Four short tracks from Gaute Granli. Broken, gnarled, detuned guitar sounds, wailing vocals, demented electronics lurking in the background, primitive rhythms. If I was forced to pick out the Texans on this split just listening blindly, I’d be fucked!, because I swear I hear a backwoods twang in Granli’s playing. These tracks don’t have the volume of his live performance in the KFJC pit from last year, but they’re no less raw and unsettling. Check out his other stuff – both his own solo work and as one half of Freddy the Dyke.
Side B: Ruffle (Rick Eye on guitar and Princess Haultaine III on electronics) brings a louder take on the guitar-centered piece. Rick Eye provides the live-wire skronk spark, Princess pours on the junky electronic fuel, and everything combusts in this ten-minute trash fire explosion. Burn it down, y’all!
Jeweled Snakes is an opportunity for Skot B (Phantom Limbs, Malditos, Altar De Fey) and East Bay noise queen Sharkiface (Diatric Puds and the Blobettes, Pigs In The Ground) to try their greasy hands at Goth-Industrial Synth Punk. This 2013 cassette combines insistent machine beats and squelchy science fiction synth work to explore the space between gloomy and horny, as well as between abstract and catchy. Both members sing, sometimes in tandem, usually through heavy effects. Somewhat similar territory to other contemporary purveyors of weird synthwave, such as V.E.X., Stacian, Bestial Mouths. The influence of Nervous Gender and Skinny Puppy is in there too. B1 (the fourth track) sounds like Throbbing Gristle rewriting Black Sabbath’s ‘Planet Caravan,’ and is probably the mellowest cut. A2, ‘Don’t Drown The Witches,’ also appears on Ratskin’s ‘Sentient Solder II’ compilation, which we have. It’s all satisfying sleaze.
This is a two track EP from 2015 with ambient synth material washing in and out style cassette compression wobble style. Somewhat like Boards Of Canada didn’t include drums to two tracks. The first one – Broken Chip – Kind — is mellow and introspective, the second track — Klangberg’s 0.5 — has an ending where more energy is introduced in forms of Tangerine Dream style arpeggiator synth waves at the very end.
No, it’s not the name of my upcoming memoir. This is Matt Purse aka Fenian. He’s also in Remainderless. Short short short but tasty nibbles of noise. 23 tracks is 8:40 on side a and 6:30 on side b. It’s all good together.
It’s not your grandma’s cooking. It’s Nico Pasquini from Italy. Lap steel guitar and analog organ. Sounds like electro industrial noise. Nice crunch with a side of beats. It’s really quiet so turn it up!
Scum (sou inomoto) is from Tokyo. It sounds like harsh noise and is a self-described cut up noise project. Scum has been making these audio assaults since 2010. “Unconscious disharmonic malfunction.” Side a is a healthy 17:15 and b is a decent 10:00 or so.
Fenian’s Oxen label brings us more harsh noise blender violence from the LA-to-Austin transplant whose name suggests ancestral origins in the Indian subcontinent. The three track titles may allude to the cultural malaise afflicting his current state of residence (even though Austin’s not really ‘in’ Texas so much as surrounded by it).
Like a lot of this trash, the material on this C30 rewards close listening and as always the emphasis is on texture, not musical ideas. According to the liner Arora plays guitar, organ and tapes and his friend Zack Fogle plays drums. If there are instruments here, they are utterly absorbed by the stormblast of tape distortion, although warped harmonics do bleed through sometimes. If these sonic disturbances really were accomplished with only rock instruments and tape manipulations, I guess they are all the more impressive for it.
The dust devil is not without some psychedelic colour, probably thanks to the instrumental source sounds. A little Hiroshi Hasegawa, a little Controlled Bleeding and a dash of The Rita… Or maybe all harsh noise just sounds the same, right? I probably liked the second track on the A side the best but you might like the FCC in the sample at beginning of the B side/third track
Stillsuit contributes “16″ (T1), and at 11 minutes, it’s an obvious stretch for a band that cranks out short, vicious punk songs. To be honest, I wasn’t into the slow, psych-y start – it’s trying to be heavy but the sound’s thin. Around 3 minutes in, things improve – the guitar lines move in strange progressions, the drums pick up speed. By the 6-minute mark, the vocal bellows turn to screams, and the track bares its teeth.
I found Map 71′s side of the split, six tracks in all, more compelling. Pyne composes varied backdrops for Jayne’s spoken word – improvised drumming and electronics (T2, T6), ominous stabs (T3) and swirls (T5) of synths, tense beats (T4), and echoing bells and scraping sheet metal (T7). Jayne’s poetry alludes to surgical procedures, anatomy, the process of creation, materials (concrete, plastic, metal, glass, shattered mirrors), the futility of bottle blondeness and femininity in general, and more. Jayne’s delivery is direct and formidable, calling to mind one of her heroes, Vi Subversa of the Poison Girls.
Dig for more stuff from both groups in our library.
Seattle hardcore set, female vocals, kick ass drums, fast paced all around. :30-2 minute little thrasher tracks that all run together, so play the tape and bask in the 8 minutes of excellent aggression
seriously, play the tape
South African duo offering up and energetic mix of accordion, beats, and spitting fast Sesotho dictation. no information for this release, and its quirky…
Salsa Pile is a pile-on of Ratskin Records‘ brightest starz: Crisperion Fett, Todd Dickerson (solo as Soup Purse), Jsun McCarty (Nerfbau, Styrofoam Sanchez, solo as Alienslang), Ryan King (Styrofoam Sanchez), and label founder Michael Dadonna. This 2010 cassette is the pile’s sole release that holds two sidelong (~30 minute) noise freakouts. The tracks were recorded in San Diego, and you can definitely tell – this isn’t dark, gritty or facemelting noise. Ratskin’s blurb mentions “microbials” and “slime” and that’s not far off; there’s a biological, digestive feel to the squeaks and spasms of electronics. Side A is a day in the life of a single-celled organism farting around its environment, silence punctuated by sensors pinging and actuators revving. Side B is a population of the bugs and its riotous community dynamics – eating, writhing, fucking, secreting, dying – all inside the bowl of salsa on the KFJC fundraiser snack table. Yum!
No-nonsense Power Electronics from Oakland’s Mackenzie Chami (Crown of Cerberus/Winters in Osaka/Disgust). This project is an outlet for Chami, who is of Lebanese Maronite Christian heritage, to explore issues related to Arab nationalism.
The theme of this particular tape is ambiguous, as the torn screams of the two A tracks are incomprehensible despite the frantic impotent rage they convey. The only clues are the song titles and the insert’s “The sins of the Father have become the glory of the Son.” A1 begins with sampled Christian chants and somehow manages to do so without sounding utterly cliche. Koufar’s signature weighty sine wave generator loops and layers of distortion are in full effect on both 10 minute sides of this limited 2015 cassette (94/100) on the artist’s own label.
Recorded with the assistance of Chami’s Terror Cell Unit collaborator, Samuel Torres of Miscreant, it exhibits an angular sound probably influenced by Intrinsic Action, Genocide Organ, and Iron Fist of the Sun. The best track is the sidelong on B, a voiceless behemoth of interlocking machinery that rolls over you on tank treads. Threatening and unapologetic, as Industrial music should be.
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