Music Reviews



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Artist: FFI Digital
Title: 180125
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
I quite enjoyed the last FFI Digital release that I reviewed, so I was interested to see how this would compare. For those of you who missed the last one, this is the work of Dan Fox, who has many other projects (including Loss, Fail, and This Is What I Hear When You Talk) and runs Inner Demons Records. The insert notes that “This album was created with only freeware / shareware instruments and effects, plus plugins packaged with Cubase.” With that established, let’s get into the music. This disc consists of two tracks at just over 10 minutes each. We start with 180125, which is a well put together composition of grinding noise over a thudding, metallic beat, which brings to mind the rhythms of older Test Department. This is not put together haphazardly, though, and everything fits well together. Later in the track, we have harshly distorted unintelligible vocals as the track slowly grinds to a close. 180125 (180305 RMX) gives us a sense of what the track sounds like with a month or two of distance from the original recording. The opening is far more stripped down, with the beat taking the center stage, before bringing the noise. This sounds a lot more mainstream industrial, kind of like Fox is trying to channel Front 242 through his own music. It’s much different from what I am used to hearing from him, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The vocals may be the same (you can’t tell in the remix either), but otherwise they are very different tracks. Overall, this is well done and quite enjoyable. This album weighs in at around 21 minutes and is limited to 42 copies.
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Artist: Nexus Monkey
Title: Enjoy Irresponsibly
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
St. Petersburg, Florida based Nexus Monkey brings us 10 short tracks, titled I through IX and a final track named “Smells Like A Tool Shed When I Come Around.” The title made me laugh, so I hope it lives up to my expectations! The disc opens up with a weird mix of pleasant drone, harsh static, analogue bleeps and squalls, and heavily processed instrumental music, all thrown into a blender on the frappe setting. Who knows what that setting is supposed to do anyway? The rest of it goes along the same lines, with different ratios of ingredients. At times it is heavy on the melancholy drones (II, IV) mixed with 8-bit analog, other times the analog dissonance comes to the forefront (V), and other times it is a brilliant mixture of all of the above in equal measure (VI). And I know you’re wondering what “Smells Like A Tool Shed When I Come Around” sounds like. Take all of the above, but put a grinding heavy metal guitar rocking out over the whole thing. It was like Xome did a collaboration with my teenage music collection. It was beautiful. All of this to say that this disc is absolutely wonderful. If you like it noisy, this is one to get. But please remember to listen to this irresponsibly. This album weighs in at around 22 minutes and is limited to 42 copies, so get it while you can.
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Artist: Nightmare Park (@)
Title: Box Of Teeth
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
Nightmare Park hail from Connecticut and describe themselves as “Blackened Harsh Static and Noise Walls, sounds sourced from Horror films that I like. . . . HELL IS REAL.” I suppose that this gives us some sense of what we are in for, especially when we take a gander at the disc titles. This set consists of three 3" discs neatly packaged in a small box. We begin with the first disc, which consists of one 20 minute track entitled, “I Am the Devil.” This is a crackling, rumbling wall of noise that consists of a nice blend of low-end rumble and choppy white noise static. It shifts slowly over time, but remains the same idea throughout. It’s honestly kind of soothing. Disc two is one 18 minute track, titled, “And I'm Here To Do The Devil's Work.” This opens with heavy low end bass and some quiet crackling static, making you think that this will be similar in approach to the first disc. However, at about two minutes in, the static suddenly becomes much louder, kicking in with more force. This is a much more involved piece than “I Am the Devil,” and the evolution of the track is more interesting. Grinding and scraping noise mixed with distorted low end bass. Disc 3 brings the noise with one 18 minute track titled “An Interview With Evil.” This is a more complex track than the other two, and much noisier, as if the first two were simply a warm up for the finale. This is like standing next to a blast furnace in a sheet metal factory. Overall, the tracks keep a similar feel throughout and hang together well as a whole. At times I wish that it would have had some more variety, but the overall effect is oddly soothing and hypnotic. One may expect the standard horror movie samples and over the top “check out how evil I am” from the titles, but thankfully Nightmare Park resists this impulse. Instead, we have solid discs of straight wall of noise. If you like your noise with a lot of low end, this is worth checking out. This set weighs in at just under an hour and is limited to 42 copies.
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Artist: Mariela Rossi
Title: RF-545L
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
I had not heard of Mariela Rossi, and other than finding out that they are based in Essen, Germany, I could not find much on this project. Looks like the music will have to speak for itself. This disc opens with “Manual Tuning,” which is a heavy slab of low-end rumbling staticy goodness. It moves along until it completely disintegrates into a wall of static and feedback at the end. “The Quiet Space” begins as a much more subdued composition, but about 3 minutes in begins to unload with high pitched screeches of noise. The piece crescendos and decrescendos throughout, making good use of dynamics to keep it interesting. At times there are heavily distorted voices that emerge in the maelstrom, but you can’t make out what they are saying. The entire piece is held together by a bed of crackling noise. This one also ends in sustained high pitched squeal – definitely an experience in headphones. Overall, this is well done noise and worth checking out. This album weighs in at around 18 minutes and is limited to 42 copies.
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Artist: Marc Benner (@)
Title: At Times I Struggle to Be Pleasant
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
I have known Marc Benner for many years, so I was happy to see this disc in the stack that I would review. I am more familiar with his work as the project Dead Shall Not Have Died In Vain, since he has been on a few of the Zaftig Research holiday compilations, so this is my introduction to his work under this moniker. This disc consists of one track titled “At Times I Struggle to Be Pleasant,” which the notes explain come from two field recording sessions. There is a rawness in the composition that I really enjoy. The music sounds distant, like you are listening to someone perform a simple song on a bass (and what sounds like an accordion) in a deserted train station, as people nearby talk about their plans for the evening long after the last train has left the station. As the musicians’ song reverberates through the station, you hear people coming in and out, the sound of metal grinding on the rusty gate, and you realize that you somehow missed your train. The voice of the attendant on the PA system gives you no comfort. You hear a harmonica player join the others as you suddenly realize that you are lost and don’t know how to get home. If you enjoy field recordings, this is one to check out. This album weighs in at around 18 minutes and is limited to 42 copies.
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