Music Reviews



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Artist: Seamus Cater & Kai Fagaschinski
Title: Secrets
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: self-released
This combination of Seamus Cater’s voice, concertina, Rhodes and harmonica with Kai Fagaschinski’s clarinet was composed over several years, and took over a year to record. Yet it’s got such a consistency of musical purpose that it knits together beautifully as a single, near-contiguous work- 36 minutes of extremely long, solitary, drawn-out instrumental notes, commonly only one or two at a time, exploring the purity and tone of each in thoughtful detail.

It’s sombre and sorrowful, with the supreme expressive capabilities of the clarinet really brought to the fore, and with Cater’s gently husky voice quite masterfully understated. For the most part it’s supremely slow- one of those releases where you might count the beats not by the minute but by the hour.

It’s so loose and open that when a three-note bass pattern appears towards the end of “Blackout” it feels almost chaotic compared to what preceded it. “The Philosopher” almost approaches song-like territory, complete with melodic pattern and chord change, but then throws an abrasive spanner in the works around the 4:30 mark with a frankly bizarre discordant squealing that is the album’s closest flirtation with high drama.

“The Dot Before The I” is notable is something of an accessible interlude piece, with gentle Rhodes tapping and spoken word instructions that give a much lighter tone than the surrounding tracks, resulting in something that sounds almost like a parody of old children’s TV art programmes.

It feels quite theatrical at times, but as though intended to soundtrack a Beckett-like stageplay or arthouse film. As such you have to be suitably mentally positioned to listen to it, otherwise it is likely to hit you at the wrong angle. But if you’re already calm, introspective, and if your heart rate is low, try bathing yourself in this emotive and sonically luxuriant work.
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Artist: This Is What I Hear When You Talk
Title: Death Pit
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
This Is What I Hear When You Talk is the harsh noise wall project of Inner Demons head Dan Fox. His pedigree has long been established, so let’s get right into the music. We kick off with “Death Pit I,” which is a rumbling wall of machine-like noise. Overall, you get the sense that you are in a factory with many machines running, but not quite in unison. These machines have been running for so long that they have begun to deteriorate and the whole thing is running just a bit off center. What keeps this interesting to me is the fact that it is not the typical wall of static noise, but rather a shifting wall that resists finding a consistent beat. On to the next disc, we have “Death Pit II,” which heads more into static wall territory. Heavy bass rumble mixed with bits of high-pitched noise give the feel of listening to someone using an angle grinder from the other side of a wind tunnel. It is not completely repetitive, but lacks the hypnotic quality of “Death Pit I.” Overall, if you like your noise with a lot of heavy bass, you’ll want to spend some time in the Death Pit. This set weighs in at 46 minutes.
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Artist: This Is What I Hear When You Talk
Title: I Want Brett To Like This, Too
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
This Is What I Hear When You Talk is back with more harsh noise wall for your listening enjoyment, so let's see what he has in store for us this time. This album consists of two three inch discs. Disc one consists of one 22 minute track titled “[CLUSTERFU(K->GCPRO->OCT-1->INSANE->E616II_LOFI->OCT-1->(RUPTURE->ENO_RVB)->BLACK_RAT->DD600]+[NPG->DAME->HOLYWAR->OBSCURA]” (how’s that for a radio friendly title?). This is a wall of crackling, rumbling noise with a blast of foghorn-like drone kicking in every second for five seconds at a time. The result is oddly peaceful because of the rhythm of the piece. Disc two brings us a more traditional harsh noise wall with the 22 minute track “(VOLCA_BEATS->GC_PRO->FX57->DISTORTION_WAVE_SHAPER_FILTER->FX86->HOLY_WAR_->INSANE->DD600)+(HADRON COLLIDER->DAME->TM300->BEQ700->OBSCURA).” At first blush, this just sounds like a standard wall of staticy noise, but this track really requires a listen through headphones to catch all of the subtlety that TIWIHWYT is throwing down. Hidden under the static is a lot of shifting tones and a heartbeat-like sound that is woven throughout the track until it begins to fall apart halfway through in a case of arrhythmia. Overall, this was pleasant listening for those who like their noise to shift at a glacial pace.
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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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