Music Reviews

Kotra: Freyr Hologram

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Oct 18 2015
Artist: Kotra (@)
Title: Freyr Hologram
Format: CD
Label: Kvitnu (@)
Rated: *****
Dmytro Fedorenko aka Kotra is the founder and the main mastermind behind the excellent Ukrainian label Kvitnu, which is keeping on spreading interesting specimen of experimental electronics by meansof a selection of stuff and superbly crafted pieces of music, which, according to label's own description, "concetrates on sound and ideas with a high blood pressure in it" and could withstand selection of more consolidated labels. The interesting sonic discoveries they manage to find inside and outside Ukraine benefits listeners, but I guess they benefit the creative vein of Dmytro and Kateryna Zavoloka, the other artistic column of the label, as we can testify by this tidbit that got recently released by Kvitnu. The elegant artwork by Zavoloka, who wrapped the package by means of those bright white/silver silk wallpaper, that I remember I saw on many walls in the 90ies, enclose a CD-r where Kotra put three abrasive tracks, which could be described as the rawest side of some outputs of artists like Kangding Ray or Senking, that I wouldn't really match to the soso-called rhythmik noise. in spite of a certain syncopated step by which Dmytro organized - so to say - a bunch of hisses, interferences and concrete noises on the opening "Spiv Zolota" and the closing title track "Freyr Hologram" - my fav -. A good appetizer for the other recent outputs from Kvitnu that I'll introduce in the days to come.

Container: LP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Oct 14 2015
Artist: Container (@)
Title: LP
Format: 12"
Label: Spectrum Spools
Rated: *****
A wise mover must take both the lubricants that facilitate the movement and possible friction into account and an experienced agitator like Ren Schofield aka Container certainly does. The seven movements on this "LP" sound like a perpetual challenge by frictionless and immediate rhythmical pre-sets (the rhythmical ignition of some tracks like "Remover" or "Peripheral" sound like slightly distorted pre-sets of cheap electronic devices) against a series of factors which rises attrition to levels that could broke hig engines: the opening "Eject" features that kind of trance-inducing grip of some folk dances, while most of the other engines drew lubricants, dust and stones from the most obsessive extrusions of Detroit techno and Japanese noisy industrial techno. The highly abrasive gears, that he sounds like putting under ferocious and controlled strain, manage to be enjoyable as their course is realy unpredictable and thrilling, even when his way of layering polyrhithms and mechanical grasps gets closer to saturation ("Peripheral", "Appliance" and other moments when listener could imagine that these outputs could come from a sadistic love of machines by their author). Nice and no/icy way of morphing and "grooving" noises.
Artist: Luxury Mollusc / Ontervjabbit / Animal Machine (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: [&] (@)
Rated: *****
I was not familiar with any of these bands before getting this, but looking at the cover and the lo-fi presentation (artwork is a creepy drawing on pen and paper, blank CDR), I kind of expected some noise here (especially since it came in the same package as Sist En 343, which was some great noise). So I was a bit surprised when I put on the disc. First up, we have Luxury Mollusc with 'Fishing For Chalk Lung Breathing Is A Chore Wax Tundra.' This is gritty and a bit noisy, but not really noise. Imagine a post apocalyptic landscape where the machines are still running simply because there is no one left to shut them off. As you can expect, the machines have become a bit rusted and parts have started to fall off of them, but they keep grinding away. This is the feel that we begin with. Lots of reverb gives it a cavernous feel, and it gets progressively noisy as it goes along. The machines are starting to break down and it's beginning to show. Nicely done. Next up, Ontervjabbit comes in with all guns firing with 'Disruption Slot' This is a slab of heavy, feedback laden noise that crushes everything in its path. There are recurring themes throughout, but this is surprisingly good if you like rumbling, grinding noise. As such, it manages to keep the nonstop intensity going while still being engaging. It ends with an ear piercing squeal of feedback, just as I thought it would. Well done. If you were looking for some kind of aural respite after Ontervjabbit's assault, you will find none in Animal Machine's 'Live at the Rehearsal 14.10.12.' But while Ontervjabbit functioned mostly in the lower end of the spectrum, Animal Machine aims for the treble side with lots of white noise before heading into a segment of rumbling bass and feedback about halfway through. So much feedback. If you like harsh noise, this will definitely be up your alley. Overall, don't let the cover fool you ' this is well worth checking out. This album weighs in at around 66 minutes.

She Spread Sorrow: Rumspringa

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Oct 04 2015
Artist: She Spread Sorrow
Title: Rumspringa
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
This is a debut from She Spread Sorrow, a project from Alice K to be classified under the objectively often boring field of Power Electronics. However, while using the imaginary of the genre, she's able to effectively develop a sound form rather to stack noises until the sound spectrum is full.
The quiet soundscape generated with synth opens 'Spring Of Regret' and, during the track, small noises start to emerge until they fill the spectrum. The barely understandable voices 'Herself Denial' are often buried under the noises. 'Red Rumspringa' is a drone track for most of the time while noises are used to break the sound stillness. 'Inertia Malaise' and 'Chastity' partly return to the paths of 'Herself Denial' but with a better construction as the noise elements aren't used as a force's demonstration but as an element for the development of an obscure, almost cinematographic, atmosphere. 'Seven Daughters' closes this release alternating quiet moment to harsher ones.
This release is an example of how power electronics can escape his cliché of low dynamics, high volume formula hybridizing it with some dark ambient element with truly enjoyable result. To listen waiting from her next release.

Sluice Room: Antinatalist Varaitions

 Posted by Ibrahim Khider (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Sep 22 2015
Artist: Sluice Room (@)
Title: Antinatalist Varaitions
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Sink Slop (@)
Antinatalism is a broad term that means, more or less, the voluntary extinction of humanity. There are varying schools of thought about how this can achieved, a minority believe this can be done through violence but most advocate humanity simply stop having children. The driving idea behind this belief is that humanity is a detriment to the Earth and to each other such that it would be better if we did not exist at all. Indeed, there are even some religious schools of thought who concur that it would be better had Man never existed. This is a bleak solution for a species capable of reason and and modifying behavior to embrace less destructive paths, but a cursory glance at news headlines suggests otherwise.

One only needs to look at the title of the opening track to see where Sluice Room stands in the spectrum of antinatalism; 'Here's What I Think of Your Gift (Parental Homicide).' When you hit play, the Antinatalist Variations opens with all the subtlety of someone pouring a jug of ice water down the back of your neck. Layered harsh textures of noise that seem to come from electric guitar distortion, elongated into a continuous and abrasive drone field, and then run through a series of effects. However, Sluice Room does not share their methods of audio mayhem, so the sounds could come from other sources. There are four tracks here that range from just over seven minutes to just over twelve, each as cataclysmic as the last.

Parts of 'Here's What I Think...' resonate with an intense, low-end reverberation that adds an evocative texture to the otherwise harsh effects of distortion, giving the stereo woofers a good work out. The following track, 'Secret Exit Path' has interesting frequencies that evoke the film, White Noise, starring Michael Keaton, which is about Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) wherein the dead try to communicate with the living through analog cel phone, television and radio signals. The undulating textures of noise are such that the ear can almost make out human voices that seem to struggle through the dense field. My ears strain to decipher what they have to say. Next, we have 'The Forced Meat Goose Step', which has less harsh noise fields and accompanied with rhythmic mechanical clicks but mid way through some powerful generator surge pulses kick-in, followed by banshee-like distortion screeches that could be rage or agony or both. Then again, this is just noise and the human brain strives to 'humanize' sounds that could come from mundane sources. The Antinatalist Variations Closes with 'Cloistral Convalescence', which offers an industrial grade drones and low end reverberations, co-joined with what seems to be mechanical power tools that cut through...the artist's parents, perhaps? The packaging and track titles set for darker overtones but the sounds are some hefty, relentless noise with a wide enough range of textures and intensities to keep the listener engaged. Some very nice noise that stands up to repeated listens. Should these talents be of the violent variety of Antinatalism, we may not hear what other sounds they cook up (or forge) next, and that would be a pity.

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