Torturing Nurse, founded by Cao “Junky” Junjun, is the band at the center of the Chinese noise scene, releasing a slew of material since 2004 (much of it on their own label Shasha) and collaborating with the likes of Government Alpha, K2, Macronympha and others. This 2017 cassette comes from the excellent Russian purveyor of sonic dementia Post-Materialization Music. The tape opens with a short track, with foreboding synth tones (Carlos’ The Shining theme) announcing the final descent into oblivion (T1). Two long tracks follow: the first, “Is sleeping,” is a lo-fi filthy rainbow roar (T2), “My Glue” moves to a higher key with surges of sound that grab onto each of your ears and pull, stretch, skew whatever’s in between them (T3). The track ends with convulsions and slobbering that moves into the live track “Co-Taeyang” (T4) with screamed vocals and sneakers squeaking around unidentifiable metallic clashes. More Shanghai noise!
Two CD collection of works prepared for the 2nd Deep Wireless Festival of Radio and Transmission Art in 2005, organized by the Canadian group New Adventures in Sound Art.
Collages of spoken word, including Gregory Whitehead’s reworking of Rumsfeld’s infamous “unknown unknowns” speech (CD1-T2), Toronto artist Marjorie Chan’s language lies (CD1 – T5), Katharine Norman’s unsettling nightmares (CD1-T3), Milena Droumeva’s cellphone soundbites (CD2-1), Audrey Churgin’s Arctic travelogue (CD2-T3), Pamela Z reading a page from a catalog (CD-T7).
Art made for radio, including a special for The Harvey Christ Radio Hour, a weekly sound collage show on Montreal’s CKUT (CD1-T9), a monologue about first teenage love from Aura Bogado, who Pacifica listeners will recognize from Free Speech Radio news (CD2-T8), or just the radio waves and transmissions themselves (CD1-T8, T11).
Field recordings and found sounds left as is or transformed into new sonic shapes (CD1-T4, T6, T7, T10), from movie theaters (CD2-T5) or university hallways (CD2-T9) or mixed with traditional percussion by Debashis Sinha (CD2-T2).
More information on the works can be found in the notes, and many of the artists here also appear on the Deep Wireless 5 compilation in our library.
Scathing is the harsh noise project of Austin-based artist Kenny Brieger (also in Architeuthis Dux); this 2018 cassette is his second release under this name. Two ten minute breakneck cut up pieces. Side A is total implosion, I trace its source possibly to a mutilated rock song. Voices singing, feedback from microphones or guitars, even remnants of song structure, with a bridge of tense holding pattern rhythm that transitions between the two halves of the piece. Side B is total explosion, high and piercing, barreling with barely a breath until the final second. Another punishing release from Oxen.
Mattin is no stranger to the KFJC airwaves. In our library you’ll find a ton of his work, under his own name, with the projects Billy Bao, Regler, Josetxo Grieta, and Consumer Electronics, and in collaboration with many artists… even Junko! This CD is the fourth volume of his Songbook series of improvised works recorded in 2006 in Tokyo. It lists six tracks, though my CD player reads only one long 22 minute track that contains the entire performance. Mattin is on vocals and guitar and is joined by a full band: another guitar, bass, piano, and – from over in the toilet – saxophone and Tomoya Izumi’s screaming. Dissonant guitar violence, driving rhythms propelled not by drums but by bass thump, piano keys stumbling around and clashing with guitar strings.
It all surrounds Mattin’s distorted, disturbed vocals that he claims are inspired by Lou Reed, but I hear more Damo Suzuki, Alan Vega, or someone more deranged. His performance is at once a parody of and a tribute to the underground rock show: the avant garde artist defying conventions with raucous noise and screamed lyrics, his back to the audience (or is he just a talentless asshole?) and the adventurous audience members engaged and rapt (or are they just pretentious snobs?). Mattin begs his audience for forgiveness (“I wanted to please apologize for my lack of talent”) or confronts them directly (“your expectations are the worst nightmare any human being could have”). It’s all pretty uncomfortable, and you can hear the tension in the stunned applause from the four or five people that showed up to the gig. Strange, vicious, and hilarious. WHY DO WE LET HIM DO THIS?
FCC at ~6:00 “this is another fucking lie”
I get how you might not be totally jazzed to return to dungeon synth, but it’d be a shame if you passed on the deliciously warped sounds on this split cassette. We last heard from Romain Perrot working under his most well known alias Vomir, among the most infamous HNW projects going. Here, he appears as Free as Dead, working with a completely different palette of sounds: a possessed organ, the notes twisting and distorted into beautiful, demonic hymns. If you love the Solo Organ stuff we’ve been playing consistently for the past two years, give this creepier version a spin. On Side B, we have six tracks from Bride, a side project of T.O.M.B., that attempt to capture electronic voice phenomena, or the sounds of spirits affecting electronic signals. Textured field recordings, unintelligible voices, ringing bells, dark piano melodies, and synth drones wind and warble through ancient speakers. Beautiful nightmares.
Painted Caves is the electronic side project of Barn Owl Evan Caminiti. On this 2013 release, Caminiti uses modular synths with tape loops and digital effects to create a sense of pervasive paranoia. Tense beats and minor-key synth drones, as cold and soulless as the AI algorithms methodically sifting through your email, location data, and camera roll. Ranges from intrusion into quiet, intimate spaces (T1, T2, T5, T6, T7) to massive data collection on a national scale (T3, T4). But just when no escape seems possible, there are brief moments of strange beauty, hints of warmth. Limited release from the fine French label Shelter Press.
Lee “Leech” Bartow made his name in the 1990s with the power electronics project Navicon Torture Technologies. In 2010, he began releasing less extreme but no less dark works as Theologian. This new cassette from Danvers State Recordings (the label run by The Vomit Arsonist) is described as “apocalyptic industrial for the end times,” which might as well be now. The A side begins with the slow building ice storm of “In the End Times” (T1), the industrial rhythms of “The Sisters” (T2), the unexpected dance beats from a miserable club in hell on T3, the suspense of “Spent Fuel Rods” (T4). The second side is where this work really stuns, beginning with the standout title track (T5) (with a grim chorus that returns in T8), the tragic vocals of T6, the annihilating ambience of T7. The four tracks on each side merge seamlessly into one another – play on continuous to track them all together into a long piece. So much more than just a spooky dark ambient soundtrack, this excellent release evokes scenes of genuine drama, beauty, and horror.
Botched Facelift gets a makeover in this debut cassette from Blood of Chhinnamastika, and it’s just as horrifying as you’d imagine. Local noisician Dario Puga’s new project is named for the fierce Hindu goddess of sex and destruction, who severs her own head to nourish her followers with the blood that springs forth from the stump. The A side is a single track that moves between dense layers of pulses to sparser passages where warped vocals cut into stuttering bursts of static, to somewhat nauseating effect. “See No Hope” (T2) sustains the intensity with tortured screams and mangled electronics, while the final track “Unreality Tortures” (T3) is over eleven minutes of uninterrupted searing sandblast. Drink up!
Live improvised works recorded during a 2014 performance from guitarist Henry Kaiser and drummer Scott Amendola. Throughout these six tracks, the local luminaries leap between strange styles in a single bound, from the psychedelic freakout and extended comedown of longplayer “Leaps” (T1), to the post-rock burn of “Door in the Light” (T2, that builds into something much heavier and wild), the tangled jungles of “The 14 Animals that Will Haunt Your Dreams” (T3), the rolling blues riffs and rhythms of “Sproing” (T4), the electronic abstractions of “Blinks and Blinks” (T5), and the seething skronk of “The Wrong Suit” (T6). Much more from these prolific artists in the A and Jazz sections of our library.
You know the drill. We have several (here here and here) of these compilations from the Blackpool UK artists’ collective in our library – now here’s Vol. 2 from 2004. Godspunk regulars Howl in the Typewriter bring seven minitracks, all named “Here Comes the Butterfly”, plus some fuzzed out rock (T1 and T34). Unit offers five hits of deranged art pop that reminded me of old Deerhoof stuff (T27-31), Pinkeye features female vox and weird electronics (T11-17), the Las Vegas Mermaids sing to some insect dance tracks (T8-9), LDB space out with melodic brithop (T2-4). Gays in the Military might have the best entry with a track of pissdrinking punk that should not be played during daytime (T6 – FCC).
Hype Williams is a joke band with a joke name, but it’s the 2010s, when jokes can lead the free world or make the Album of the Year list on your dad’s favorite alternative music website. This 2009 7″ from de Stijl brings us back to where it all began with Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland. Why music snobs lose their shit over these two is something I have never understood, and these tracks don’t really shed any light. The A side of haunted dub is the best, the B side is a lo-fi smoky synth melody with a fake ending. And the jokes don’t stop – play this 7″ at 33 1/3.
A one hour noise odyssey from genius of the genre Kimihide Kusafuka, brought to us by LA’s Oxen. In these three works, K2 finds a sonic idea, stays with it for a moment, then moves on to the next – the effect is like moving through the world with your senses amplified a millionfold. “Pollution with Huge Lies” (T1) builds from isolated drones and signals into massive torrents of sound and a sense of impending catastrophe. “MOX” (T2) explores rough-textured static, but later on almost melodic phrases appear. “Unpeaceful Song For Rainy Tritium” begins peacefully enough, like an unsuspecting nature scene, until it is slowly swarmed by radioactive plumes and ensuing mayhem. Masterful.
On this 2014 cassette EP, noise artist Josef Nadek draws inspiration from the ancient folklore of his native Austria. “Wâldgeischta” lures us into the forests, with field recordings of birds singing as dark ambient echoes settle in the trees (T1). This moves into the mysterious, minimal rhythms of “Nimma dâ” (T2) that blossoms into full-on seething noise on “‘s wilde Gfâhr” (T3). The dust settles on the final ambient track “D’ Bluatig’n,” (T4) electronic groans and growls from the spirits as they disappear back into the woods.
Analog transmissions from Head Dress, the project of Ted Butler from Los Angeles (he’s also behind the underground cassette podcast Norelco Mori). This 2017 cassette comes to us from the newish experimental tape label Castle Bravo out of Lafayette, IN.
Three modular synth works with a focus on rhythm and drone. Sonar pings from a black box on the ocean floor, repeating pulses like a code beamed from a distant source. Ringing drones that flow into beats from alternate dimensions mutating into minimal almost-techno by the end of “Blake’s Ridge” (T3). Disappear into the Devil’s Triangle.
Punishing power electronics on this 2016 release from Stress Orphan, the Baltimore-based project of Eric Trude. Global exploitation, mounting frustration, inevitable explosions. Calls-to-arms, guerilla warfare, howling sirens, nuclear attacks, shock waves, body bags.
Mysterious Descent is described as “a mythodramatic song cycle” based on the “extant texts of the Idnat Ohintsosh-ikh… the only existing records of the Koktimo civilization, the sudden disappearance of which remains a mystery.” I’m pretty certain that this backstory is the invention of trickster Brett Carson, a composer, jazz pianist and fixture in the Bay Area experimental scene. On this work, which debuted at the 2016 Outsound New Music Summit, he is joined by percussionists David Katz and Nava Dunkelman and violinist Mia Bella D’Augelli.
The piece progresses through twelve movements that are increasingly bizarre. Vocals, sometimes sung in English and other times spoken in invented tongues, conjure a glowing sea goddess that appears while taking out the garbage in the evening and elephants roaming the kitchen while getting a glass of water in the middle of the night. “Song of Vurvmoprinka” ends with a folk dance about a flaming phallus and cosmic vulva (T4), “Song of Urdogravikazhts” drones with violins and voices, then gives way to ecstatic shouting by a spirit who just wants to fuck with us (T6 – FCC), “Song of Dzochanibralk” is a sweeping rhapsody about phosphorescent flatworms, then descends into a wild freakout of chanting, piano, strings and bells, and “Last Song” wraps it up with a lovely kazoo (seriously) anthem (T12). Confusing, absurd and occasionally beautiful – like existence itself, and the weird myths we create to explain it.
FCC T6 – we’re being fucked with
In East Germany in the 1980s, replication and distribution of recorded material had to be authorized by the State, and so a rich and creative DIY cassette culture emerged to share the work of artists too weird or too subversive to receive the GDR’s stamp of approval. This scene was the focus of Mannequin’s klangFarBe compilation from 2016 (in our library), and now of this new collection from Bureau B.
The 14 bands collected here had limited means and limited exposure to bands on the other side of the wall, and so the resulting sounds are wholly unique and varied. Take the Stoffweschel track (T6), a glitchy beat that gives way to a creepy, mechanical circus dub. Heinz and Franz have the East Berlin blues (T3), Der Demokratische Konsum lash out with noisy electro krautpunk (T9, Kriminelle Tanzkapelle bring synth dance rhythms and chopped vocals (T2), Choo Choo Flame features strange vocal stylings that remind me of Anna Homler (T5), Gesichter’s repeating tape loops has a hip hop feel (T11), and Musik zum Weltuntergang wraps it up with a 9 minute high-pitched drone track for the end of the world (T14). Many of the musicians here went on to more well known projects after the wall fell, including Frank Bretschneider (alias A.F. Mobius (T1, T10) and in Kriminelle Tankapelle (T2) and Heinz and Franz (T3)) who founded the klangFarBe label in the 80s and, later, Raster-Noton in the 1990s. Photos of the original cassette artwork and information about the bands are in the liner notes.
Kawakami was the guitarist and frontman of Japanese d-beat punk band Disclose until his untimely death in 2007, when he chased sleeping pills with vodka. The same year Disclose put out their first album, 1994’s Tragedy, Kawakami’s secret side project Bacteria released this demo. On this 2015 re-release from Dan-Doh, the original 28 tracks are crammed onto a single side of a slab of pitch black vinyl to be played at 45 RPM. Blown-out vocals like a feral dog shrieking and howling, bursts of destroyed and demented guitar. If it weren’t for the drumming that appears a few minutes in and explodes as the record goes on, you could mistake this for a sludgy, fucked up noise record – a glimpse of Kawakami’s next act with the harsh noise project(s) Blackgoat/Goatworshipper. Filthy, raw, gut churning. Finally, a record that crust punks and noisedorks can all agree on!
Coume Ouarnède is the solo project of percussionist Yan Arexis. Previously, Arexis was a member of French folk bands Stille Volk, Sus Scrofa, and others. This project’s title refers to a network of caves in the Pyrenees, and on this 2016 album (the title translates to “those who empty the trees”), the tracks are named for the landmarks and mountain peaks near its ancient tunnels. The sounds draw you into these passages and the surrounding woods, as Arexis attempts to create “the music from the first years of humanity.” Traditional percussion, flute, and stones create a quiet atmosphere (T5, T9), and on two tracks he uses field recordings of the forest (T1, T9). These tracks are very minimal, so much so that the faintest drumming rhythm (T3, T6, T8) or human voice (T2, T3, T5, T6, T7, T8) is a thrill. Supernatural sonic spelunking.
This 2017 release, our first add from the Danish label Jvtlandt, is the second album from Tandaapushi, the Borromean trio of electronic musician and pianist Leo Dupleix, bassist Laurens Smet, and drummer Louis Evrard.
The core tracks of the album were recorded during a session in Brussels with Dupleix on the pianet, Smet on guitar with assorted applied effects, and Evrard on drums. In Part 1 (T2), a steady, hypnotic guitar and drum groove rumble beneath rhythmic jabs on the electric keys. In Part 2 (T4) the drum/guitar foundation, more driving than the first and building in intensity, while mysterious tones spiral. For the Finale (T6), a heavier guitar sound anchors wild excursions on the keys. After the session, the guys shared a plate of frites. Between the main tracks are three improvisations- muted beats percolating from a drum machine and question mark strings (T1), creeping repetitive guitar and deep distorted bass (T3) and looping washes of feedback with soft guitar melodies (T5). It brought to my mind early jazz fusion keyboard experiments, and the grind of the Drid Machine with the angular edges filed away, and I enjoyed it the whole way through.
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