Music Reviews

Brigitte Roussel: Amber Hole

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 28 2015
Artist: Brigitte Roussel (@)
Title: Amber Hole
Format: CD EP
Label: Double Hallucinative (@)
Rated: *****
A leg of the underrated project Nac/Hut Report, the Polish illustrator, vocalist and performer Brigitte Roussel offes an interesting and genuine glimpe of her sonic aesthetics on this release, which features her partner-in-art LI|ese|Li on guitar and sound forging. Her sound has often been compared to some well-known industrial acts such as Cabaret Voltaire or Psychic TV, but the disturbances and the sonic landslides that got rolled over her awesome vocals displays a more personal and soemwhat hallucinatory approach: she seems to give voice to a sort of curse since the beginning of "Amber Hole" on the disquieting "Prologue", which sets the mood for further explorations inside her sound. The off-beat journey on "Golden Trains" renders a sort of nightmare, whose subtle obsessiveness is so visceral that could cause dizziness and tummy cramps; she seems to loop a deformed motif by the Hungarian composer Rezso Seress she thanks in the inlay on "Hidden Room", whose vampire parlor tricks let me think about an imaginary crossbreed between Tylervision's "The Last Human" and a track by Schlauch on the singing by a feverish Lydia Lunch, before letting her voice drowning in the psychotic gurgling of "Rain", corroding the flesh of an electro-mechanical loop on the morbid "Dance Of Butterfly", where even her voice seems to undergo drastic changes (from a sort of childish Lady Radiator - who saw Lynch's Eraserhead knows who I'm referring to - to a sadistic agitator) and collecting cerebrospinal fluid and blood on the gently ferocious "Tears Box" and the castrated melodic corruption of "Churchyard", the chapter before an epilogue which seems to echo Guy Debord's lessons and perspective.

IRM: Closure

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Feb 10 2015
Artist: IRM (@)
Title: Closure
Format: CD
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
You probably already know that IRM is Martin Bladh, Erik Jahrl, and Mikael Oretoft of Sweden, and that they are an industrial noise/power electronics outfit that have been around since the late 90's. For those who need a stylistic frame of reference, think Brighter death Now. 'Closure' is the last chapter of a trilogy which began with 'Indications of Nigredo' (12"), continued with 'Order4' (CD) and ends here with this one. Along the way IRM has been refining its technique and changing direction a bit which was hinted at on 'Order4'. 'Closure' paints a new picture for IRM, one that is bound to leave a lasting impression and could even be taken as their "masterpiece". Divided into 9 tracks ("Closure I-IX"), the listener's attention is gotten with three thudding bangs accompanied by an old style TV drone tone, then the processed vocal and a mix of electronic noise comes in. Processing on the voice is a heavy wavering flanging that garble the voice for understanding the words but not the malevolent feeling behind it. Towards the end of this first track the voice engages in some type of indecipherable chanting audible in the background. This blends seamlessly into the next track, a blend of noise and mournful electronic cries and the processed voice returns. Syllables are drawn out for effect in a dramatic infernal recitation. If you want to know what that voice is saying, you can follow along with the lyrics in the 20 page booklet accompanying the CD. The scene changes dramatically in part 3, as you hear a slowly ticking clock or metronome the ambience of a crowd and morose narration (in a normal and unprocessed voice) describing a strange theatrical event while an intermittent ringing tone plays over some melancholy bass guitar playing. You suddenly realize that the narrator is an assassin who shoots the actor on the stage who is himself! It's a nightmare sequence that unfolds in sublime horror accompanied by sobs of various voices. The performance then being over, the spotlight goes out, the audience leaves and we are left with waves of noise, a music box playing an old march melody winding down, and a low, murmuring chanting voice with various ephemeral clattering noises.

The processed voice returns again reciting "cranium-crack-hammer, temple=blast-wall, lead-brain-flow, hung-sinew-chord, loose-car-thread, scratch-scale-line...DEAD-TIME-BLIND, DEAD-TIME-ONAN..." and more, to a slow doom beat and ringing tone in the background. This in itself is quite theatrical. Part 5 sounds like the eternal wail of souls punctuated by death knell thuds with various pitches of electronic noise drones ending with a decrepit voice singing about "a hellhound on my trail". Part 6 has a thrumming machine beat loop and singular sine wave drone while an interviewer asks stock one-word questions (name, alias, sex, age height, weight, etc.) and the respondent gives vague but surprising one-word answers. It could almost be a word association game. Another more piercing electronic drone tone takes over and then breaks into Part 7 with a blast of cacophonous noise and another recitation from the processed voice. I won't quote the words, but suffice to say the lyrics are rather morbid, to say the least. The noise blasts even more intensely at the end and the garbled voice is drown in an electronic storm. Part 8 takes us back to that theatrical event from Part 3 but with a completely different perspective. Part 9 is a reprise of Part 4, again from another perspective, more on the lunatic fringe order of things. I should mention that the work of guest percussionist Ulrik Nilsson is excellent throughout where he is employed, and another guest on this album is English cellist Jo Quail, but I was hard-pressed to pick her out amidst the chaotic sonics.

This is indeed one weighty opus. For industrial noise fans who are looking for something quite out of the ordinary, 'Closure' is surely your ticket to ride. IRM have raised the bar so to speak in the genre, and no description I can provide can come close to experiencing it for yourself.

deNeuve: Old Bruce

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Feb 03 2015
Artist: deNeuve (@)
Title: Old Bruce
Format: 12"
Label: Blowpipe Records
Rated: *****
deNeuve is André Bach & Mark Tegefoss who have a long history of working together, most notably in the project Det Wiehl, which has been around since 1973, with 9 or so releases on cassette and CD from 1983 up til the present. They were also in Tox Modell in the 80's, a notable band of the Dutch ULTRA scene, remarkable for heavy guitar, bass and vocals, but no drums, percussion or rhythm machines of any kind. I don't think deNeuve's work on 'Old Bruce', a 4-track 12" (plays at 45rpm) is that far removed from Det Wiehl, but perhaps more steeped in the industrial. Title track "Old Bruce" has an industrial beat that could sync up well with a heavy duty washing machine, garbled vocal samples where a phrase can occasionally be made out ("and over time") repeated sample of a piano glissando, various types of noise, and incessant pulse-throb bass. "Les Grande Demis" sounds like the French pixie sisters trapped in a heavy machine shop with a lumbering monotonous beat. "Ruski" features various vocal samples (presumably Russian) in a bizarre rhythmic industrial environment. "Morningboy" begins with a manipulated, echoed vocal sample over a muted machine rhythm followed by other sonic elements, then the heavy machine rhythm kicks in accented by sharp harsh noise shots. Intelligible female vocal samples emerge ("You're a boy"...deaf and blind...I'm sorry...nowhere else to go..", etc.), a repetitive rhythmic sample of thrumming bass strings, and a number of other sonic elements. The whole of 'Old Bruce' is fairly disarming. Experimental industrial no doubt, and most certainly alienated. For me, it was a bit too much, difficult listening to the max. For those of you braver sorts, it's available in either pink or blue vinyl.

Uncodified: Hardcore Methodology

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Jan 14 2015
Artist: Uncodified (@)
Title: Hardcore Methodology
Format: CD
Label: Old Europa Cafe/Elettronica Radicale Edizioni (@)
Rated: *****
This new release by Uncodified, the most abrasive brainchild by brilliant Italian sound artist Corrado Altieri, could turn pale with fear the most radical sonic scourges that shored power electronics and noise shapers scenes up. Even if there's a certain concordance with the most impetuous Japanese drill-men or some "noisists" from Cold Spring, Uncodified lets spurt gushes of creepy industrial sounds from his violent timpanic perforations by means of obsessive electronic tidal flows and streams of disturbing electrons that emulate the methodology of hardcore movies directors. Some vocal and sonic samples from hardcore movies have been inserted into the stubborn avalanches of wisely controlled noise since the initial "Welcome!"; in spite of the almost continuous rashes, which got occasionally interrupted as it occurs on "Catalagues", a track which features the collaboration of Gianluca Favaron, where the electrical storm got suddenly disrupted, or "Anterooms", the collaborative track with Bologna Violenta, where a motif that seems to come froman horrorific cabaret resounds from the magmatic mush, listeners will vividly perceive that flow costantly changes as if an inner balance of seemingly chaotic elements resounds from the heart of each virulent maelstrom that plough the deeper layers of aural tolerance on the violent discharges of "Methodology 2", "Complete Actress" (featuring Caligula 031), the vicious "Preparatory Study" (feat.Gianluca Favaron) or the dreadful trephination on "Dubbing" - one of the two collaborative tracks with Paola Bandera's Sshe Retina Stimulants and dives into magnetic pools of post-industrial and dark-ambient on tracks like the increasingly disturbing "Cotton Pads" or "Summer Instructions" - both of them comes from the firm friendship with Simon Balestrazzi - or "The Teachers" - the other collaborative track with Bandera -. Altough the creative supply of his collaborators cannot be underrated, Corrado achieves outstanding quality standards of noiseshaping on this output.

Brighter Death Now: With Promises of Death

 Posted by Emanuele Ratti (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Dec 30 2014
Artist: Brighter Death Now
Title: With Promises of Death
Format: CD
Label: Familjegraven
Rated: *****
Time has finally come. Roger Karmanik is back. Many years have passed since the last fresh meat from Mister CMI. From Kamikaze Kabaret (2005) Brighter Death Now have published several releases but there were just unpublished tracks, live, or re-edition of historical records. Then last year CMI passed away, and we all thought that time for burying BDN too was arrived. We were wrong. The new album is called 'With Promises of Death' and it is produced by Roger's brand new label called Familjegraven. The album begins with a song ('With promises of death') that sounds more like a slogan: 'This is not over', with Roger keeps on singing this for the rest of the song, with reverberated and distorted voices, in the best death industrial tradition. Many years have passed since last Roger's composition, so our guy is a little bit rusty, but the result is nonetheless amazing. I hasten to add that this album reminds me somehow 'Necrose Evangelicum' although 'With Promises of Death' is a little bit more - how to say - 'agitated'. Rhythmic typical BDN bass are more prominent and invasive than 'Necrose Evangelicum', but the philosophies behind the atmospheres in my opinion are similar. Gross and slow bass, with a touch of rhythm, articulates Roger's lament. As usual, Roger Karmanik tugs the listener deep in the ground floor of human's soul, where conflicting feelings melt within each other. Here everything is allowed, and we pass from sarcasm to anger passing through sadness. A special mention goes to 'In The Shadows of Death', where a sort of cheap pipe organ draw a sinister melody, and Roger sings over it. I was waiting for this album since many years, and now that it is here, I can only say that this is a great album, and now we expect a lot of more from Mr Karmanik, reborn like a phoenix from the flames of hell.

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