Music Reviews

Red Boiling Springs: Choked Transmission

 Posted by eskaton   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Oct 09 2018
Artist: Red Boiling Springs (@)
Title: Choked Transmission
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
I was unfamiliar with Red Boiling Springs, but their bandcamp page states that they hail from Portland, OR and the Discogs page identifies this as the project of Matt Sullivan, who also runs Nailbat Tapes. The description they provided for this album explains that “Choked Transmission is an exercise in signal interference, with each track containing manipulated samples ranging from radio frequency crossover to a wireless hotspot impeding onto magnetic tape.” Sounds promising, so let’s get into the music. This disc consists of four tracks, starting off with “Interference.” The opening is kind of minimal, consisting of a lot of ground noise with bits of static interspersed throughout. It is not harsh, in your face noise, but it is noisy in a clinical way. Partway through, it shifts gears, with heavily reverbed feedback and (unintelligible) screaming in what sounds to be a parking garage. For me the screaming detracted from the well-constructed feedback noise and static, which is quite enjoyable. Next up, we have “Waste,” which is a short excursion in rhythm and noise. A rapid clicking beat punctuates heavy bass noise and more slightly distorted screaming. Third, we have “X-Ray,” which has some really nice low-end rumble and the sounds of an engine which totally reminds me of the drums at the beginning of Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” (and there is a line that I did not think I would ever write in a review for Chain DLK). The voices in here (if they are actually voices) are distorted beyond comprehension and work well. Overall, this is an excellent track that really keeps things interesting and for me is the strongest track on the disc. Finally, we have “Cleared,” which opens with a throbbing bass line; crackling static, random voices, screaming, and cookie monster growling punctuate the track throughout. Perhaps I am a noise curmudgeon, but for me the screaming just didn’t seem to work and detracted from the overall works. I would have preferred it to be much more distorted and processed to become part of the composition, but here it felt like someone recorded some excellent noise tracks only to have the recording session interrupted by some crazy guy outside the studio screaming at people. I don’t know enough about Red Boiling Springs to know if this screaming is a trademark of their work of it is a one-off experiment, but I hope it is the latter, because the noise underneath it all is really solid. Your mileage may vary, however. This disc weighs in at around 18 minutes.

Praying For Oblivion: Live: April 12, 2014: Brno, Czech Republic

 Posted by eskaton   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Oct 09 2018
Artist: Praying For Oblivion (@)
Title: Live: April 12, 2014: Brno, Czech Republic
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
I have been familiar with Andrew Seal’s project Praying For Oblivion for many years now, so I had some idea of what I was in for. However, I have not seen him live, so this was new to me. One thing that I enjoy about live sets is that they are often more chaotic and have a raw edge to them (unless you are one of those artists who pretty much just turns on a backing track and then heads to the bar). What we have here is one 19 minute track entitled “Todesmarsch,” recorded at Noise Fest – Czech Republic at Klub Boro. If you want raw performance, this disc delivers. One hallmark of Praying For Oblivion, is that he is not an “everything including the kitchen sink” wall of noise kind of guy. His work is carefully crafted; distorted sine waves bend ever so slightly as waves of fluttering static wash over them. Everything moves slowly, but deliberately. You easily get the sense that Seal knows exactly where he wants to take the piece, as he builds intensity over time. If you are looking for chaotic noise, this is not the disc you are looking for, but if you want to hear someone who has honed his craft, this is one to check out. This disc weighs in at around 19 minutes.

Macronympha: Battered, Crushed & Stripped

 Posted by Marc Benner (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Sep 01 2018
Artist: Macronympha (@)
Title: Battered, Crushed & Stripped
Format: Tape
Label: Bizarre Audio Arts
If you are unfamiliar with Bizarre Audio Arts you are missing out on one of the most prolific noise labels for the last 23 years. Leo Sabatto has run the project Armenia and has done splits with so many well known and several lesser known noise artists over this time period. Over the last several years Leo has worked with the original Macronympha front man Joseph Roemer to reintroduce their version of this project onto the scene. Also contributing to this release are John Grimaldi and Henry Mallard who bring even more sonic chaos to this album. Both of these artists are two noise makers from western PA who are doing some awesome work in their own right.

The A side of this album clocks in at 20 minutes over three tracks and is a sonic throbbing loop which does not give way for much of the side, although it does shift on occasion. The repetitiveness of this loop is pretty disheartening and with the side of this tape being given the name “Terror” I can see why. Macronympha has really never been about pleasing the ears there has always been a sense of unfriendly nature to the songs and this release is no difference.

Side B is titled Chaos and it starts off with the track Horrifying Scars of Mismanagement, it is actually a little more laid back to begin with, a similar style on the first side with the repetitive loop starts the first track but this time there is more disruptions to the tracks with what almost seems like the side is skipping or slowly degrading, I think I prefer the Chaos over the Terror because it doesn’t make me feel as uneasy.

The second track on Side B is titled Plundering Overlords and is probably the best track on the cassette with classic harsh noise textures more quiet than the other tracks but excellently produced.

Overall this is not the best ever Macronympha album but it does not disappoint, I haven’t heard a bad one yet out of the bunch when it comes to the Bizarre Audio Arts releases so I highly recommend you dig in where you can and get uncomfortable.

Darkrad: Heart Murmur

 Posted by Marc Benner (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 07 2018
Artist: Darkrad
Title: Heart Murmur
Format: CD
Label: Audiophob (@)
Rated: *****
Darkrad is a project of Jana Komaritsa, this project seems to have several previous releases which, I am sad to admit, were unfamiliar to me. I am familiar with some of the long form collaboration releases on Cryo Chamber (Azathoth, Nyarlathotep & Yog-Sothoth) which Jana has contributed material to and can say those should not be missed. I was also very excited to see this projects debut was on Cold Meat Industry which also brings a lot of promise.

This album which is titled Heart Murmur is an excellent unsettling but beautiful journey into synthesized ambient music. The occasional vocals are also a welcome addition that add an ominous layer to the music, we do not often get very many female fronted projects in this style but I would say Jana sticks out among all of her peers no matter who is approaching this genre.

This is a project I will be seeking out more from in the future. The main album is great. The bonus tracks which are pieces from other albums, as well as the remixes from Flint Glass & Mortaja do not disappoint either.

fri(G)id: The Terminology is Flawed

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Jul 24 2018
Artist: fri(G)id (@)
Title: The Terminology is Flawed
Format: CD + Download
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
For some time I've been losing my taste for harsh noise/power electronics, partially because it seems I've heard all that can be done with it, and partially because I find most of it just so fucking annoying. Then along comes an artist in the genre who's trying to put a different spin on it. Fri(G)id is the solo project of Simon Severe from New Orleans, a place not really known for industrial noise. As a project, fri(G)id has been performing in New Orleans since 2015 in basements, underground venues, theatres, houses and bars. 'The Terminology is Flawed' (2017) is the first recorded release by fri(G)id. It's 74 minutes of harsh noise with themes of sexual inner conflict. I can't say that everything on this album was interesting but it had its moments. "IntroEXTro" opens the album and all it is is a repetitive short screaming feedback loop with rapidly pulsing square wave. It has the hell manipulated out of it over time but still wasn't very creative in my estimation. "Strait Talk" (w/FatPlastik) is an assortment of industrial style noises with recorded voices talking over, under and around it. Now I'm reminded why I really don't like noise projects. Boring and annoying. I was about to give up on this thing entirely when "Mirror Mask" came on. There's a frequency in it which just resonates with my tinnitus and I wasn't sure if it was in my head or in my speakers. There's just so much going on in this extreme noise piece that I thought I was going crazy. You know, if something affects you, even negatively to this extent, it must be effective. "Winter" was an interesting track; a little under 2 minutes of women (it may have been only one woman with the voice processed and overdubbed) speaking in a stream of conscious manner on some strange, indecipherable topics along with repetitive fast-pulsing noise. "3+5" once again puts female voice(s) into the mix, with some backwards noise looping and other processed noise. Over time the noise gets heavier and more intense ending finally with the female voice saying "Im ashamed of what I became." too. The jittery noise on "Does it hurt?" is as grating as fingernails on a chalkboard, and there is some sporadic male/female dialogue interspersed. (Gender-bending mixed with circuit bending?) Although it was hard to make out the words, it seemed to have been of a sexual nature. I particularly liked the end though when the semi-rhythmic beats with intermittent metallic noise feedback was all there was left. "the Talk" begins with a female voice asking "Do you think you know everything about sex?" followed by buzzy noise and beats, which intensifies over time, interspersed with male and female voice talking about sex. You probably won't be able to make out much of the dialogue, but I can see this working on two levels - the subliminal, which only your subconscious mind is hearing, and the obvious, in which your conscious mind strains to hear most of what is being said. When it comes listening to people talking about sex, I think most people have this Pavlovian instinct to eavesdrop. I really don't know what "Efficacy (penis envy)" was supposed to be about, for the sonics seem to have nothing to do with the title. Perhaps the intermittent "drilling" sounds has something to do with it, especially as it picks up speed. I couldn't make out any of the painfully processed vocal toward the end, but maybe that had something to do with it as well. More tumultuous noise on "True Love Weights" with fairly distorted, loop-echoed processed voices, swelling into a repetitive echo-feedback mess. It ends with a female voice clearly stating that "This is a reminder that keeping yourself pure is important." I'll bet it is. I expected things to be a little buzzier on "Vagina Wasp," but I ought to know by know that in fri(G)id's world, you can't judge a track by its title. The (processed) voices in this piece are totally muddled, the noise- more processed static than anything else, and nothing much stood out about it at all. I think that by any standards 'The Terminology is Flawed' is an uneven album. Still, noise enthusiasts may find it interesting, even though it's not going to change my perspective on the noise genre. The CD comes with a bizarre little 8-page booklet which may (or may not) shed some light on the voice samples used. You can also get it in digital download or cassette format.

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