Music Reviews

Emptyset: Recur

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Nov 22 2013
Artist: Emptyset (@)
Title: Recur
Format: CD
Label: Raster-Noton (@)
Rated: *****
A sequence of clangorous prick and collapsing noises which repeatedly pierces the silence on "Origin" opens the third studio album by Bristol-based project Emptyset by sound artists James Ginzburg and Paul Purgas, whose reinforcement of the sound they've already showed down on previous releases, a constantly expansion of that neat line between noise and music tunnels through further recoinnaissance of the overlapping between pulverized and pure sounds on one side and structures which seems to be built by a perpetual crumbling away of other framework whose tensile strength sounds mirrored by the emphasized asperity of sounds. You could have the impression that each track renders the friction between two opposing forces, which stress respective intensity in order to have the upper hand so that listeners can almost perceive the sonic translation of the troublesome ignition of a ginormous engine on tracks like "Fragment" or "Lens", naked flames which loses their heating transfers in the middle of an arctic storm on "Absence", core drills which meet more resistant metallic layers on "Disperse" and so on. This cranium-clastic parade of harsch compressions and sudden rarefactions till the reaching of saturation or breaking points is going to delight the lovers of the most strident intersections of industrial and properly technoid sonorities.
Artist: Mika Vainio & Joachim Nordwall (@)
Title: Monstrance
Format: CD
Label: Touch (@)
Rated: *****
Some fine-tuned hits on vibraphone and other metallic objects on the initial "Alloy Ceremony" precede the electromechanical heartbeat and the chafing wails on corrosive guitars of this brainchild by a guessed partnership between Finnish industrial prodigy Mika Vainio and Swedish noise artist (as well as iDEAL label owner) Joachim Nordwall, whose artistic partnership could be imagined as a proper alloy due to the theme of the release. The focus on metals from the sonic and compositional viewpoint rises to an epic, or I'd rather say sacred and religious, height as the title together with the general atmosphere of the record seems to suggest: monstrances are those elaborated and finely chiselled vessels that priests use to display relics or for the so-called transubstantiation and this sacramental analogy sounds clear if you carefully listen the detailed sonic sculptures by these Norse blacksmiths. This devotional ascension, which culminates on the final "In The Sheltering Sanctus Of Minerals", where Nordwall's Hammond organ ignites a sort of quasi-melodic catalepsy with no obtrusive noisy interferences or pleatings, unfolds by means of a series of drones, minimal electronic poaching, oxidised guitars, rasping acoustic sounds and metallic percussions, which chorally oscillates between the squeaky cacophonies of "midas In Reverse", the withering hammer blows of "Irkutsk" and the earsplitting magmatic casting of "Live At The Chrome Cathedral", whereas the tracks dedicated to two lanthanoids sounds like the real whimsies: in spite of the appearance of abrasive guitar blowing, the first one, "Praseodymium", could be thought as a sinuous sinter, while the bizarre sequence of plucks and crapes on "Promethium" lends a weird and somewhat theatrical guise to metals.

Matter: Biorhexistasy

 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 06 2013
Artist: Matter (@)
Title: Biorhexistasy
Format: 12"
Label: Kvitnu (@)
Rated: *****
Ukrainian label Kvitnu proves to be one of the best operator nearby the stylistical fizzled and foggy frontlines where flooding techno cracks, rythmic noise and breakcore splinters burst industrial's banks by means of another excellent release which comes from the drilling sonic machines of Italian producer Fabrizio Matrone aka Heidseck, who leaves his second sediment in the guise of Matter on Kvitnu's intriguing catalogue. Matter's wide weaponry of crumbled low frequencies, scraped metallic samples, convulsive knitting, acid hot springs, creaking noises and sequences of compressions and tractions which often mirrors batch processing and give rise to amazingly obscure technoid - or I'd rather say rhexistatic - movements ("Phases", "Biostasy", "Exposure", "Attrition"), which could vaguely resemble industrial-techno corrosive anthmes by sound artists like Riou Tomita, or menacing industrial mechanics ("Sub Soil", "Dominance"), lies on a guessed source of inspiration, the so-called Biorhexistasy theory by pedologist Henri Erhart, who tried to describe the climatic conditions necessary for pedogenesis divided by different periods of soil erosion. Such a geological conceptual framework has been superbly translated into sound by Fabrizio while underlying a semantic transposition of this slow and perpetual mutation into social, psychological or physical terms, so that have this theory in your mind in order to better appreciate the listening experience this Bologna-based sound artist gathered while digging grooves.

Navicon Torture Technologies: Your Suffering Will Be Legendary

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Sep 30 2013
Artist: Navicon Torture Technologies (@)
Title: Your Suffering Will Be Legendary
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
'Your Suffering Will Be Legendary' is a reissue of the two bonus CDrs (now CDs) that accompanied 'The Gospels of the Gash' limited edition box set by Navicon Torture Technologies released by Malignant back in 2009. As the limited edition is gone now (you can still get 'The Gospels of the Gash' sans bonus CDs) this was a necessary release, all things considered. 'Your Suffering Will Be Legendary' comes in an 8-panel digipak, two CDs of mostly splendid dark noise-based music. I never heard 'The Gospels of the Gash' but it was apparently NTT's swan song, and I'm sure Lee poured out his blackened heart and soul into it. What we have here though is something very different- a collaboration with 18 other artists over the 18 tracks on this 2 CD set. They are (in order) Aun, Black Sun, Cenotype, The [Law-Rah] Collective, Inswarm, Covet, Autoclav1.1, Herbst9, Jarboe, Deutsch Nepal, Fragment King, Kristoffer Nyströms Orkester, Prometheus Burning, Steve Moore, Eidulon, Troum, and The Bird Cage Theatre. Obviously there is bound to be diversity, and that's what really makes this release interesting. You may not like everything on it, but there is more than enough to hold your interest and keep you coming back for more.

Although there is still plenty of noise, much of 'Your Suffering Will Be Legendary' falls into industrial/dark ambient, and that's fine by me. First track ' 'Everything I Have Is Yours' (NTT + Aun) is slightly noisy dark ambient factory environment with some unexpected slicing drone musicality in the upper frequencies. 'Soul Eater' (NTT + Black Sun) has a somewhat harsh industrial environment with a raging voice repeating 'I EAT YOUR SOUL'. 'The Last European' {Damnation Edit} (NTT + Cenotype) begins with throbbing drones, then mournful strings with other electronic elements in the background. 'Cult of Doom' (NTT + The [Law-Rah] Collective) is a fine piece of metallic dark ambience that turns into buzzy, crackling drone about halfway through, subsiding before the end. 'Headwound' (NTT + Inswarm) is 2/3 brutal noise and the last 1/3 seething industrial dark ambience. 'I Won't Survive in a World Without You' (NTT + Covet) begins with dark ambient drone loops, then some delicately played piano notes. Over this you can hear emotionally upset pleading voices, then sad cellos. It's quite a disturbing piece; more trauma than you may want to handle, especially when those voices begin screaming. In 'An Exercise in Pain' (Extended Version) NTT + Autoclav1.1 begin the track with a sustained male vocal choir, then a rhythmic brushing noise loop kicks in and some higher sustained voice overhead with some low frequency electronics on the bottom. The loop fades and sustained voices persist. It's dark, but not hopeless. NTT + Herbst9 combine forces for 'Eclipsed by a Blue Star,' a classic dark ambient track, rich with industrial-ritual undertones and a variety of atmospheres. This is one of the tracks that makes this album so worthwhile. NTT + Hecate close the first disc out with 'Knowing No Mercy, They Rage Against Mankind'. Drones, mild and pounding rhythmic noise loops, a Lovecraftian dialogue sample, and plenty of other eerie sounds spill into the void.

Disc 2 begins with NTT + Jarboe's 'You are Worth Fighting for' ' organ drone and noises akin to gastric distress over which a metallic chittering and other well crafted noise and electronics swell into a surprisingly uplifting cacophonic symphony. 'Victvm Vermis' features NTT + Deutsch Nepal and it is as enigmatic and esoteric as you might expect with a collaboration between these two. NTT + Fragment King give you 'Gumrot' (Decaying Face Edit), a weird kind of hyper-dubbiness in the bass and percussion melded with Brancaesque hazy, shimmering overtones of what could be a guitar/electronics combo. 'In the Folds of the Flesh' (NTT + Kristoffer Nyströms Orkester) brings in heavy dirge-shoegaze guitar loop after a buzzy insect drone intro, but there isn't enough going on here to keep it interesting and it should have been shorter by far. NTT + Prometheus Burning combine forces for 'She Throws Me to the Dogs' and if you're familiar with Prometheus Burning, you probably know what to expect. Very heavy on the 'industrial band 'aspect. In fact, it's much more PB than NTT here with Nikki Telladictorian wailing away. Still, not a bad track, but much more industrial than dark ambient. 'Love Theme' (NTT + Steve Moore) is intense noise drone and electronic LFO driven oscillators for the most part, nice, but nothing stellar. 'Pillars of Flesh' (NTT + Eidulon) is rather low-key in its creepy cavern ambience, reminiscent of Lustmord. 2/3 of the way through though, distorted vocals rage over slow drums and you WILL feel the pain. NTT + Troum execute 'Sonnenaufgang,' in waves of staticy noise that intensifies into a buzz, then becomes low and muffled. This drone continues with more (phased) noise added, churning, and eventually subsiding. NTT + The Bird Cage Theatre close things out with 'The Moral of the Story Is Dreams Inevitably Lead to Hideous Implosion'. A low buzzy noise melody of sorts forms the base over which there is indistinguishable vocalizing. The track gets noisier and noisier with the noise overtaking the human element in this sonic blender. Noise enthusiasts should love this one.

Overall, 'Your Suffering Will Be Legendary' is a mixed bag; there are a number of tracks I liked more than others, and some I just though okay, and although your faves may be different than mine, your conclusion is likely to be similar. No doubt that this proves that Lee Bartow plays well with others, and I wonder if there might be more interesting collaborations in the future. I'm recommending this for the variety, and the packaging design by Jorden Haley is really slick too.

Nyodene D/Sektor 304: s/t

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Sep 16 2013
Artist: Nyodene D/Sektor 304 (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD EP
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
Here we have the teaming of two powerhouses in the industrial noise/power electronics genres from the Malignant Records stable ' Nyodene D and Sektor 304. I've just reviewed Nyodene D's 'Edenfall' and a while back reviewed Sektor 304's 'Subliminal Actions' so this should be an interesting experience, and for once I'm sort of on familiar turf. The CD is comprised of only 5 tracks and at only 34 minutes I'm more inclined to call it an EP rather than an album. Tracks 1, 3, and 5 were assembled by Sektor 304 using source material from Nyodene D's 'Edenfall' while tracks 2 and 4 assembled by Nyodene D using source material from Sektor 304's Radio Sonores Project.

Right away in opening track 'The Human Fractal' Sektor 304's influence is dominant with a creepy machine workshop environment. This is the assembly line of the damned, or maybe a zombie factory. Gotta love the low key ambient drone running beneath the presses, the metallic squealing, the zizzing and other factorial effluvia. Nyodene D steps up to the plate and hits a line drive on 'All Over All' with distorted vocal ranting backed by keening power electronics and industrial percussion. My only misgiving about this one is that it goes on way too long at over 10 minutes. Could have been half that length and more effective, but you'll get your money's worth. Sektor 304 is back in the driver's seat on 'The Shaft' and it kind of reminds me of one of the more unsavory auto repair shops I had the misfortune of going to. Drop 5 tabs of acid, take your vehicle to the worst auto mechanic factory in the city and hang around waiting for it to be done. Paranoia and regret soon ensue. Gee, it's getting pretty noisy in here'¦wonder what they're doing to my car. Oh my God! [sob]. Probably not what the artists intended this track to be, but I'm drawing my own conclusions.

Nyodene D moves to the fore again with 'Vulture (for Gil Scott-Heron)' and although the track doesn't reflect Gil Scott-Heron's music, his socio-political sentiments seem to have been right in line with Mr. Vilk's from Nyodene D. Gil Scott-Heron (for those unfamiliar) might well be called the 'Godfather of Rap' as his poetic spoken word performance over a blues-jazz-soul music centered around social-political issues, injustice, inequality, hypocrisy and class warfare. It's no coincidence that Gil Scott-Heron's first novel (1970) is title 'The Vulture'. With a buzzing electronic drone, visceral power electronics and percussion that sounds like bombs dropping in the background the tortured distorted vocals make an unmistakable statement even if you can't understand the words. The bombast will continue until morale improves.

Finally Sektor 304 wraps it up with 'Furnace,' a track with tribal industrial percussion, feedback wail, buzzy and slicing electronics and vocals you can nearly understand. It's a seething track full of controlled rage and one of Sektor 304's more focused efforts. In all, this split EP has a lot to offer and the Nyodene D/Sektor 304 collaboration is a potent one. I'd certainly be interested in hearing what these two projects might come up with if they combined their efforts again.

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