Category Archives: Noise

Skrapez – Sorcery

(Hit+Run, 2017)

Skrapez is an experimental musical duo (originally from San Diego), part of the artist-collective Hit+Run (with many totally cool artists releasing stuff), with a huge amount of releases in their disco. The two artists known as Tenshun and Psychopop have also released a lot of stuff under other aliases, but this is the project that has mostly caught my eye and ear.

Having just toured Europe with another awesome artist Gonjasufi, this release has been recorded in the California desert in conjunction with that tour. All the music of Skrapez which I have been exposed to so far, has been traditional beat-making (using sampling, scratching, and drum-pads) put through filters of heavy distortion and other violent effects, and the two songs on this release are not different in that sense.

Yet although as harsh and crushing as the music is, it manages to stay in audial harmony and balance when it comes to the different tracks on the songs, while being chaotically and almost disturbingly psychedelic and hypnotic at the same time. And that is no easy feat when it comes to stuff like this.

The two songs (both of which last exactly 09:59) on this release are basically made of different parts or chapters, something I have also heard on previous Skrapez-material, but this time around the parts are not too distinctly apart in content. Beats of harsh electronics, multilayered percussions, psychedelic synths and various samples and effects take total control of the atmosphere for the 20 mins, in a really DIY and low-fi yet creative way. The first song is a bit more beat-oriented, while the second one is more Ambient and experimental.

The music sounds like it has been made by human hands dripping with blood and sweat, rather than with some Ableton Live gimmicks. This stuff is perfect when taking the bus to your shitty job, or inspecting it more closely while high on some drug, or even as background music while working on your computer.

Highly recommended for all fans of harsh Electronic / Industrial sounds and traditional Hip Hop made with classic sampling techniques, especially if you already dig low-fi stuff like the before-mentioned Gonjasufi and similar mentalities.

Available as a tape through Hit+Run.

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Street Sects – End Position

(The Flenser, 2016)

Street Sects (from Austin, Texas) was formed in 2013 by vocalist Leo Ashline and producer Shaun Ringsmuth, and released a few singles in 2014, before creating this their first full-length, a masterpiece which appeared unannounced to many from nowhere, sinking its sharpened claws into minds not disgusted by styles such as Electropunk, Industrial, Noise and Power Electronics.

I gotta admit I wasn’t that convinced about the genius of the band after having heard a couple of songs from this album, but couple of days later, after delving deeper into the violent and chaotic alluring world of the album as a whole, I became an adherent of this shit. This stuff is spiritual.

As already mentioned, what you get here is a fierce and quite original mixture of classic Industrial mentality (think of the more aggressive and faster pieces of older Skinny Puppy or Ministry), Punk Rock (or Electro-Punk if you will), and Noise, chemically (psychedelically) combined into an original and fresh end result.

Most of the music consists of samples which could have been gathered from a steel factory of some sorts, put together in an imaginative way. The clanks, thumps, rattles, fizzes, thuds, hisses, bangs, hums and slams are backed up by vicious electronic bass-lines and pounding snares and kicks, rhythms mostly not related to any certain musical style, except Industrial naturally. The grooves of the beats are sometimes childish even, yet working in an extremely convincing way with all the sample-based madness surrounding them.

There are not many clear melodies to be found on this album, as the music relies mostly on the insane cacophony brought by the various sounds and intense beats, but when you do hear them in the form of synth-lines (mostly), they sound beautiful and strong, yet you realize you wasn’t really missing them in the first place. Such is the power of this music.

The vocals are mostly screams through filters of heavy distortion, and they work perfectly with the music. But what gives this stuff a professional feel to it is the vocalists use of clear and melodic singing in the right places, nodding strongly to their influences, but maintaining the aggressive and original feel of the band.

Besides the distorted chaos and aggression, this album is packed with various emotions of sadness, melancholy, hopelessness, self-destruction, hate, disgust and other cool vibes. In fact, without having read the lyrics, I’m betting my head on them being descriptions of resentment, revenge and suicide, making the cover art (artist) a perfect pick for the album.

There are no weak parts on the album, making it a very solid and powerful totality. In this age, after having heard almost everything music has to offer (when it comes to ideas), it is always a pleasure to find someone taking classic pieces from here and some from there and combining them into something that is truly refreshing and moving. That is something we underground music lovers, grown apathetic after years of first being in love with and then disappointed by many powerful styles of music, are always secretly hoping for.

Give this album a chance, and if you get what I’m talking about above, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. This might very well be your favourite album of the year.

The Flenser

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Ad Nauseum – S/T

(Broken Limbs Recordings, 2015)

Ad Nauseum (founded in 2012) from Florida describes their music as “Fast Doom / Slow Grind”, which is indeed true, altho their music also has strong elements from Noise and Power Electronics in equal amounts. The term Sludge also comes of course to my mind. They are certainly not the first band of this nature (mixing Noise with ferocious Crust, Grindcore or Sludge), but they are a band that definitely stands out.

This cassette release features about 20mins of extreme Electronics and violent Metal and Punk oriented music so heavy and crushing, I would dare to say it is best experienced with headphones rather than crappy speakers.

The combination of mostly high-frequency noises and extremely low and crushing guitars and basses works really well, with all the different tracks clearly audible, yet merging into a single storm of malevolence, moving slowly but steadily. As the musical material is at times Doomy slow, and at other times Grinding fast, it must be said the fusion of noises and distorted guitars works better in the slower parts, altho the fast parts spice up the atmosphere nicely.

The riffs and beats are quite simple, but played professionally, both in the slow and fast parts. The vocals are also screamed with clear expertise and experience, equally violent to the overall soundscapes of the music. The Electronics are done with the same amount of abilities as the mixing of the material, a truly professional display of skills, lifting the music to great heights.

If extreme forms of Punk and Metal (in both extremely slow and fast paces), as well as the violent harshness of Noise are your thing, you must check this band out. Hopefully they will keep the quality of the mixing and production of these songs present in the future as well, as I would love to hear this same stuff as a bit longer release. However, 20mins of this sweetness is mos def worth your attention and money, trust me.

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Broken Limbs

Gnaw Their Tongues / Dragged Into Sunlight – NV

(Prosthetic Records, 2015)

Dragged Into Sunlight came into my attention with their first full-length of 2009, “Hatred For Mankind”, which seemed like a fresh breath of total and honest aggression and hatred among all the trends going on in the Black and Death Metal undergrounds. Taking elements of indeed Black, Death and Doom Metal, spiced with elements of Grindcore, Noise, Sludge and other extreme styles of Punk, Metal and Electronic music, the band has been continuing along the path started by that particular album. The band has vast amounts of experience from previous musical projects as well as playing live, and this experience and dedication for creating and performing this extreme form of musical art has been present in all their doings. Now, about three years after their last release “Widowmaker”, the time has at last come to unleash yet another chapter in their great work, a chapter passionately anticipated by many.

Gnaw Their Tongues is the main project of Mories (originally from Suriname, now residing in The Netherlands), who has about forty releases under this name, also (like Dragged Into Sunlight) mainly focusing in harsh horrific marriage of Black Metal, Noise and other extreme styles. I have only seldomly touched upon his stuff with time, but have always acknowledged the man’s capabilities of creating truly disturbing audial visions of dread.

This collaboration-album was apparently at first revolving around an idea to create a new version of classic Industrial Metal (as begun by Godflesh’s “Streetcleaner”), which can still be heard in the material, not necessarily in the performance of the music itself, but rather in the production. Justin Broadrick (and another profilic producer Tom Dring) has also given his finishing touches to the production of the material. The three hours of material initially recorded for this released has been stripped down into about 33 mins of polished substance.

With about four years in the works, the material has indeed been most likely refined numerous times into this perfect symbiosis of (quite technical) Black and Death Metal as well as Noise (mainly). Besides the production, there is a certain Industrial feeling in the material considering the usage of electronics in a sampled and looping kid of way. Also some effects used in a percussive way give the Industrialized synthetic atmosphere to the otherwise quite organic stuff.

The amount of different soundscapes (and layers) of noises and samples behind the main tracks of clanky but pounding drums, Metallic guitars and distorted screaming vocals is also vast. In fact the material often feels like moving from a room, chamber or other similar space to another, with each having a unique horrific nature and atmosphere of its own, like different kinds of crime scenes. Spoken samples of different murderous themes spice up the already anxious and disturbing spectacle.

The Metallic parts of the material are again mainly a mixture of Death and Black Metal with elements of Grindcore, familiar from the previous work of Dragged Into Sunlight. The guitars are shredding, damping and howling like crazy most of the time, being usually technical (but not too much) rather than melodic. The basses and drums are played with experienced and “relaxed” hands, besides being performed with great skill and imagination, giving the positively human touch to the otherwise inhumane experience. The riffs and general parts of the songs switch from good idea to the next naturally and with ease. The vocals are screamed through the usual Dragged Into Sunlight amount of distortion. The overall mix, which is quite harsh and sharp but otherwise not by any means without low frequencies, is also put through filters of cool reverb. The quality and attitude of the material on the album stays pretty much the same throughout the five songs, resulting at the first listen in the songs drifting by without any clear changes in music, but being so utterly full of detail and entertaining in their horror, it is clear this album has tremendous re-listening value.

To the unexperienced, I’d say this album serves definitely as a better introduction to the music of Dragged Into Sunlight, rather than Gnaw Their Tongues, but if you are already a fan of both acts, you will not be disappointed by this release, guaranteed. In general, this album is a brilliant display of masterfully performed aggression, frustration, and disturbing soundscapes to anyone into the extreme styles such as Death and Black Metal, Grindcore and Noise. A highly recommended album.

Dragged Into Sunlight (Facebook)

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Gnaw Their Tongues (Facebook)

Gnaw Their Tongues (Bandcamp)

Prosthetic Records

Ariadne – Tsalal

(Auris Apothecary, 2015)

Ariadne from Brooklyn consists of Christine Lanx and Benjamin Forest, both graduates of Indiana University’s school of music. The name of this album, “Tsalal”, is a Hebrew term meaning “to grow or become dark”, a very Jungian concept indeed.

There is certainly something very dark in the overall atmosphere of this album, in the dreamy unconscious way, but not by any means in a depressive or anxious way. On the contrary, despite its occasional harsh and violent soundscapes (which I like to picture relating in the meeting of ones Jungian “shadow”), this music brings upon a very calm and positive feeling in general.

Most of the musical material of the six songs consists of glitchy electric synthetic currents and samples of noises, hisses, thuds, clanks, spiced with synth strings, breathing effects (reminding me of COIL’s magnificent “Are You Shivering”), and most of all beautiful female Gregorian chants.

Despite (or because of) its quite minimalistic nature, there is a very strong sense of spirituality and even eroticism in the obscure rhythms and trances of the album. I could picture the songs working as a background of an art exhibition, a long ritual of some kind, or as the soundtrack of a short film (or a long music video, which is actually reality, since the physical release includes videos for the songs).

If you can consider yourself liking for example a more minimalistic and stripped down noisy version of something Dead Can Dance might have done during their “Within the Realm Of A Dying Sun” era, or perhaps a more “Gregorian” version of the more Ambient material by the aforementioned COIL, or if you long for the atmospheres of the nineties cult label Cold Meat Industry, I urge you to check this album out.

Released by the very cool label Auris Apothecary as a 4GB black microSD card inside a miniature plastic case (limited to 100 pieces), this album is very special and rare item indeed.

Video teaser for “Tsalal”

Video for the track “I Thirst”

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Auris Apothecary

Anthony Donovan & JOHN 3:16 – Of The Hex And Its Likeness

(Flood Records, 2015)

This project created by the two talented multi-instrumentalists and conjurers of sound namely Anthony Donovan (an England-based artist and musician with experience in working with the likes of John Zorn and Damo Suzuki) and Philippe Gerber (of JOHN 3:16 among other things, a French musician living in the States with similarly vast amount of experience from working with sound especially in live circumstances) is a match made in Psychedelic Ambient heaven.

From the beginning of the first song, I have stepped into an immensely Psychedelic world of various shamanic trance-like sounds (not trance-producing but like being on a trip already). I feel like sitting by an electric fire in a dark jungle surrounded with Ayahuasca-like visions, but with the traditional Amazonian shamanic musical soundscapes replaced by for example the sounds of the saxophone and an eerie Lynchian guitar in my close-eyed consciousness, I feel like observing scenes of Jazz-clubs and ominous motels. From the first minutes of this album I know these guys know splendidly well how to produce inner cinematic scenes of truly trippy qualities.

The other five songs continue along the same lines (while adding more traditional Psychedelic Rock elements to the mix), being made of several unique parts and scenes of sounds. The amount of different sounds (and even perhaps instruments) on this record is really admirably vast, yet all the low and high, damp and clear, low-fi and upscale, swirling and steadily gliding noises, hisses and choirs of buzzes, chimes, clanks, clicks, thuds, bleeps, and especially the distorted and more acoustic guitars and basses and various synth-sounds, as well as different percussion-sounds plus other effects, fit the overall feeling of the album perfectly, producing extremely dreamlike and vivid visions.

The programmed drums and percussions often sound like being performed by a third member (a percussionist) while Phillippe and Anthony work their magic with their trademark heavily filtered guitars, basses, keyboards and the like. There is also a strong live-atmosphere to the songs (reminding of the vast experience both men have from performing around the world), which gets interrupted only by the sudden changes of the scenes contained on this album divided into six parts. The singing, speaking, whispering, preaching and screaming voices performed by Anthony fit the soundscapes really well, sometimes acting as the voice of the shaman guiding you on this trip, but usually transforming into some entity encountered on the many deep journeys these songs consists of.

I’m not even trying to categorize this music due to its vast array of styles and feelings, but if you are into styles such as Ambient, Noise, Experimental, Psychedelic Rock (especially of the Kraut-nature) and in the same time a fan of extremely cinematic and soundtrack-like Jazzy and Lynchian feelings, rest assured you will not be disappointed by this album.

Flood Records

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Aymeric De Tapol & Joachim Montessuis / RIPIT – Split

(Ångström Records, 2015)

Noise and Power Electronics are music styles few understand, and even fewer really know how to perform. One might think of ominous dark men in balaclavas shouting in front of a screen showing disturbing video-material, or perhaps some pseudo-militaristic approach to this genre, but fortunately there is so much more to this culture and style than that.

The opening track of this release by Aymeric De Tapol & Joachim Montessuis reminds me of the more modern Noise, such as the recordings of Henrik Nordvargr Björkk, in it’s synthetic and Electronic nature. The sound is extremely sharp yet warm at the same time, like lying in a heated ocean of sharp nails. As the high-pitched screaming distorted vocals enter the scene, I am getting strong nods to Black Metal (because of my background in the style in question), but then again this might not be that uncommon in all kinds of Power Electronics and Noise these days. All in all a very atmospheric and strong track, paving way for the following tracks in it’s intro-like qualities.

The following four tracks by RIPIT are quite different in composition and executions. Although being extremely Noisy (having the same audial aesthetic nature as the first song), they remind me more of Glitchy stuff like Autechre. Lots of bleeps, clicks and thuds, small intense storms of beat-like yet chaotic thumps and basses make up most of the material on these four songs, surrounded by (again) warm and sharp winds and floods of noises. The vocals on the last two tracks are screaming and intense just like the ones on the first track, while having more variation to them.

The overall soundscapes on this release is of high quality, giving multiple mental orgasms to the audiophile most interested in extreme Electronic audio. However, the short length of this release is at the same time cool in the sense the songs are very powerful and strong, giving you satisfaction fast, but at the same time I am left wanting more, since I’d like to make love with these tunes and music like this for a much longer period of time. Then again, considering the nature of split-releases (in the form of 7-inches such as this and so forth), the length is pretty standard and solid. The feeling of the cover-art fits the chaotic yet sophisticated and thoughtfully occult nature of the music perfectly.

If you want to know more about those things called Noise and Power Electronics, or if you are a fan of more modern Noise already (perhaps not the old-school stuff like NON), and Glitchy Electronic stuff (such as the aforementioned Autechre or music styles like Breakcore), you should definitely obtain this release.

Ångström Records

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