Music Reviews

Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Harsh Noise London #1: Parliament
Format: Tape
Label: Harsh Noise London
I wasn't expecting much from these brutally worked-over recycled cassettes, but the first couple tracks, a live set from Animal Machine, effectively grabbed my attention after a couple minutes. AM radio static-like landscapes, crunchy transitions, walls of deep-belly noise, and hooting high-frequency tendrils poking out of the mess once in a while.

PCRV, opens with a thick, all-lows pulse bomb that switches between sub-flub and feedback squalls, spacey delay creep outs, and surprising flashes of violence that get more intense as the track progresses. I found myself wishing for more clarity in the mix, since the performance was so exciting and seemed a bit coated in filter muck, but damage is damage, and I'm just happy there was so much to listen to.

Gen 26 moves slower than the first two artists, but dizzying stereo field alternations either from effected panning or clashing signals almost made me hold my head in pain/sickness. It's a deceptively simple presentation of a complex assault, but I'm not sure I'll be listening again anytime soon. Seasickness or vertigo-inducing malevolence. Making someone a bit ill with a harsh noise recording is usually regarded with respect, so kudos! Bleah. Like any slow-moving, monolithic piece like this, I eventually was lulled into a head-bobbing trance, but I'm still not interested in taking this ride again.

When the final track from Nryy started, I said, "Wow, this sounds Japanese!" Had to check to confirm, but, yeah, it's totally Japanese. That's not to say it sounded formulaic or stock, I just think Japanoise is always going to have a distinct flavor. The tip-off for me was the "WAAAH WOW WOW WAAAAH" Masonna-esque vocal delivery. A discernible pattern of push-pull tension/release develops as the piece progresses, sucking in with thick walls and lashing back out with squelching highs. Surprisingly, I still feel like the Animal Machine and PCRV tracks moved a bit more, but this is a solid track.

Overall a very tasty compilation. I'd love to hear the full-fidelity recordings of some of these fantastic performances outside of the recycled-cassette muddiness, but I suppose that would be defeating some of the purpose. I'm looking very forward to hearing the other Harsh Noise London offerings.

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