KFJC 89.7FM

Controlled Death – “Symphony For The Black Murder” – [Urashima]

Lord Gravestench   6/23/2018   12-inch, A Library

Maso Yamazaki is a Japanese sound experimenter best known for his harsh noise work as Masonna, with which, alongside such artistes as Incapacitants, Merzbow and Hijokaidan, he helped to define the Japanese harsh noise sound. Now at the age of 51 he has unveiled a brand-new project that is so fresh and so vital it scares the shit out of me.

Controlled death may refer to the surgical practice of inducing temporary clinical death (stopping the heart and lungs) in a patient at an extremely low temperature, a state known as deep hypothermic circulatory arrest, in which the unfortunate may be kept ‘dead’ for as long as 30 minutes without damaging the brain. If that is the source of this project’s name, it not only matches the aesthetic, but also gets at the sense of control and rigor present thoughout these compositions.

The Italian label Urashima specializes in cold and nasty Power Electronics and Death Industrial sounds, and they do a lot of reissues— we have great ones from Taint, Bizarre Uproar and Vidna Obmana in the library. This 2018 release, which could easily pass for a reissue itself of some old cassette from the early 90s, sees synth fetishist Maso explore Urashima’s favourite style. This is perverse, intense, harsh Industrial based on pulsing synthesizers and ingeniously employed effects pedals, with the occasional echoing shriek of torment thrown into the blender and chopped up. It feels so much like a conscious tribute to Marco Corbelli of Italy’s Atrax Morgue (of which Urashima just issued a massive box set) and his ghoulish Slaughter Productions label that I would be surprised to learn otherwise. Everything on this record is so well done, and so inspired, that I am convinced Maso’s been studying these styles of weirdo electronic music for years. Now he has entered the conversation himself, and I hope he releases more.

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