Music Reviews



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Artist: Ysk (@)
Title: CLSOL
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
I was unfamiliar with this Hokkaido-based artist, but the bandcamp bio describes Ysk as “Japanese improvisation noise musician,” so that would be right up my alley. This album consists of three tracks. First off, we have “CLSOL001,” which comes out swinging with white noise and high pitched grinding noise. There are plenty of shifts in the track, though, as analogue noises peek through and the sounds of a tape on high speed lie just below the surface. This is harsh as hell with plenty of variety in both sound and intensity to keep it interesting. Well done. “CLSOL002” takes an entirely different approach, opening up with a pulsing sounds and crackling noise mixed with sci-fi analogue sweeps. Eventually the whole thing dissolves in a wash of feedback and distortion and Theremin-like sounds before it comes to an abrupt end. “CLSOL003” keeps the analogue noise going with a stuttering wall of harsh rumble. As with the others, there is a lot going on here, and it keeps everything moving and interesting until it slows at the end, drawing the entire disc to a close. Overall, this was fantastic. One comparison that comes to mind is Merzbow’s “Pulse Demon.” If you like your noise with everything thrown into it (including the kitchen sink), this is one to get while you can. Highly recommended.
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Artist: TAB IN/TAB OUT
Title: Always Wrong, Never Right
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
This Portland, OR based artist describes their music as “Depressive Suicidal Harsh Noise Wall.” So I suppose it’s time to settle in for some nice, easy listening. The disc kicks off with “Always Wrong,” which is pleasant, bass rumble noise wall. Although it doesn’t seem to evolve much, it is kind of peaceful. I would like a bit more variety though. Next up, we have “Never Right,” which continues on this trajectory. Bass rumble with a bit of high-end, crackling static over the top. The static shifts a bit over the course of the track, but otherwise it continues in the same general direction. This is nice to listen to, but I would have liked a bit more variety overall. However, if you like your noise walls with a lot of bass, this is one to check out. The disc weighs in at 20 minutes.
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Artist: Hana Haruna
Title: Sakuraba Atsuko
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
I couldn’t find much on this artist, partly because there is a seemingly popular Japanese porn actress by this name the drowns out everything else (so if you are interested in this band, just start at Discogs, rather than with Google, especially if you are at work). With no background to speak of, let’s get into the music. Hana Haruna comes out swinging with a harsh wall of noise. Walls and walls of white noise static and what sounds like an electric guitar completely buried in the mix is what you get. After a few listens, you can hear barely perceptible changes in the mix, and bits of feedback leave as quickly as they enter, but overall the static overwhelms the other elements in the track. Oddly enough, the last second is my favorite, as it suddenly drops in some bass into the mix. Still, the changes are a bit too subtle for my tastes on this track, but if you’re a fan of harsh noise wall, this may be up your alley. This album weighs in at 19 minutes.

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Artist: J3M5
Title: Point Of Origin
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
J3M5 is the work of California-based artist James Allen who also types 40wpm (yes, his resume is online). But we’re not here for that, are we? What we are after is his prowess at circuit bending and experimental music. Well, we’re in luck, because this is a wonderful piece that moves along well. “Point of Origin” consists of one track that takes the listener through a bass-heavy composition punctuated with analog bleeps and occasional subdued crashing noises, like a car crash that you hear from a block away. Through the whole thing, you have a bass thud that runs through the whole thing, hitting every other beat like an electronic heartbeat. The whole thing is constantly shifting, adding different elements, and evolving. At times, it becomes a bit more chaotic, like a machine that struggles to maintain balance. Overall, this is a good time and well worth checking out. This album weighs in at around 20 minutes.
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Artist: Lyke Wake + Praying For Oblivion (@)
Title: Putrefaction + Rebirth
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
I have followed Praying For Oblivion’s work for ten years now, so I was interested to see what this installment would sound like. I was not familiar with Lyke Wake, however. This Italian artist has been putting out music on and off since 1981, including a split with Nightmare Lodge for Minus Habens. So let’s get to the music and see how this collaboration plays out. The disc opens with “Putrefaction,” which begins as a grinding lab of crackling noise with wind noises sweeping throughout. There is a hint of a melody that runs through the track, buried beneath the static, building until it comes to the forefront. It is a nice juxtaposition of pretty and chaotic. This is somewhat reminiscent of Loss’s “symphonic industrial” work. Very well done. “Rebirth” continues on a similar trajectory, with harsh staticy noise and slowly building synth lines, but with a completely different feel. This has a much darker, more ominous tone to it (imagine Aube meets Lycia). You are in a shadowy factory. Some of the hoses are hissing away as they spray noxious chemicals into the air. You are not really sure if you are alone or not. You probably aren’t. This disc demonstrates what I have often said about collaborations. They work best when they become more than the sum of their parts. I have enjoyed what I have heard from Praying For Oblivion and this makes me very interested to hear what Lyke Wake has been up to. This is an incredibly solid release, and well worth checking out. This album weighs in at around 19 minutes.
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