Music Reviews

DMT: Ultimatum

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Jun 27 2016
Artist: DMT
Title: Ultimatum
Format: CD
Label: KultFront/Zhelezobeton (@)
Rated: *****
DMT's 'Ultimatum' is the second album in "Die Zeichen" series run by kultFRONT and ZHELEZOBETON labels. The first part was released in 2013 - Sal Solaris "Die Scherben 2004-2010". The new album is a tribute to Dmitriy Tolmatskiy who unexpectedly passed away in 2009. Dmitriy was one of the few journalists who popularized the alternative culture in Russia. In late 90's he created the web portal RWCDAX and his famous "Industrial Culture Extended FAQ" which unveiled previously unknown layers of post-industrial art for many Russians. The album mainly consists of compositions never officially released before, taken from CDRs which Dmitriy gave to his friends. There are also a few tracks from the compilations he had time to participate. The album provides a glimpse into various periods of DMT's sonic experiments from 1999 to 2008. It also features fragments of a live performance together with Alexei Borisov in St. Petersburg in December 2005.

As you might expect, this is a very mixed bag of compositions, and as such, cannot be expected to have much in the way of thematic, or musical unity. The first couple of tracks- "Funeral" and "Helter Skelter[Passage 1]" are very much industrial noise pieces, the first with a somewhat slow-paced drum track, the second with monstrous industrial percussion. (The latter is a fragment from a live performance at the Thalamus III festival from 2005 in St. Peterburg.) Both are very heavy on noise chaotics, but somehow there is still a degree of control. I initially listened to these tracks before knowing anything about the CD, and feared this was going to just be a juggernaut of constant noise. Fortunately, such was not the case. "Cambodia" is a bit more ambient, with moody industrial electronic background and and gnashing metallic sounds before some thick ominous chordal pads herald in a freight train of pounding percussion which soon passes. Eventually a less obstreporous industrial rhythm is settled on with menacing electronics over the top. "Waiting for the Rest" offers a kind of industrial ambience with a somewhat martial beat. "Think About It" has some echoed electronic sounds playing over an industrial beat, and the voice sample ("think about it") is repeated often. The next four tracks - "DA 8," "The Call," "Ultimatum," and "My God" are all previously unreleased. "DA 8" has a nice strong industrial rhythm component; "The Call" begins in a kind of orderly fashion with a rhythm track akin to a certain type of pressurized lawn sprinkler, and then is overtaken by hyperactive snare shooting off into oblivion. Title track "Ultimatum" sounds old-school all the way, from the programmed drums to the synths, and even the spoken-word lyrics (in Russian of course). "My God" struck me as a bit ridiculous with an ever more frantic voice babbling away in Russian over an increasingly noisy industrial music background. Disaster? Calamity? Probably, but perhaps not the kind the artist had in mind. "Helter Skelter [Passage II]" also from the Thalamus III festival begins with a sample of the chorus from the original Beatles song, but is soon drown in a miasma of electronics, noise and vocal moaning. "Are You Ready to Die" copiously samples Timothy Leary's dialogue with Ralph Metzner from his 'Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out' album over DMT's electronic psychedelic ambience. A bit rough, but still interesting. "Happines in Pride" is one of the earliest (1999) and also one of the weirdest tracks on this compilation. Its main component is an ascending LFO pitched noise sequence over early Scorn-like percussion. It's repeated nearly over the entire track, and has the effect of being deviously hallucinatory. "Main Stream" is a cacophony of radio voices(at first) and noises, then settles down to a minor roar of industrial and electronic drones and noise. "Lynch," appropriately dedicated to David Lynch is an unsettling but low-key piece of pulsing dark ambient electronica that's relatively easy to digest. "Desert Noise" is black industrial dark ambient reminscent of Lustmord. Final track, "Escape" is the calmest piece on the album, but in its own way, perhaps the eeriest. A nice way to end it.

As I said in the beginning, 'Ultimatum' is a mixed bag, but a good chunk of it will appeal to noise enthusiasts, while industrial and experimental electronica fans should also check it out. It's a shame that Dmitriy had to shuffle off this mortal coil. Who knows what DMT might have been capable of, but at least this as a kind of memento mori. Limited to 300 copies.
Artist: Adam Gołębiewski (@)
Title: Pool North
Format: CD
Label: Latarnia (@)
Rated: *****
The first question I asked myself when I received this record was quite obviously related to those unidentified tools on the cover artwork. What are thy? A full torture equipment of mad dentist? Primitive fireplace pokers? Mysterious tools for the cleaning of furnaces? Whatever they are, they supposedly landed on the table of the Poznan-based musicologist, sociologist and experimental drummer Adam Gobiewski, who wisely used them to forge one of the most extraordinary sets of really experimental percussive tracks that recently titillated my eardrums. Even though listeners, who cannot really understand this extreme experiments, could tag "Pool North" as the artifact of a sadistic sound artist, this output by Adam, which can not be considered a rhythmical exercise at all, is the exploration of a huge pack of remarkable percussive effects that quickly reaches the threshold of pure disturbances. In the seven tracks of the album, Adam melts over-amplified noises, somehow cacophonous drones, violent scrapes and other bizarre resounding strategies to squeeze intense listen experiences, that unavoidably stimulates the imagination. You could imagine the crazy attempt to hybridize a snare drum, a triangle, a trumpet, a doorbell and who knows what else on the clashing "Decay" or you could experience what a woodworm could feel when his humble abode got turned into toothpicks on the ironically titled track "Ellington Tradition" or you could even think that a hellish monster looking like an elephant seal is trying to enter in your house by forcing an old door and its rusty hinges, while listening to the scary "Manner and Timbre". Some ears could bleed, but it'll be worth.

Wilt: From Depths Profound and Inconceivable

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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May 31 2016
Artist: Wilt (@)
Title: From Depths Profound and Inconceivable
Format: CD
Label: Fall of Nature Records (@)
Rated: *****
Wilt is James P. Keeler: synths, bass, vocals and electronics; and Dan Hall: baritone electric guitar, acoustic guitar and electronics, from Chicago, Illinois I believe. They've been around since 1998 and have an abundant amount of releases, so many that I'm not even going to bother to count them. This is another case of "why haven't I heard these guys before?" I'm sort of the "dark ambient guy" here at Chain D.L.K., and I'm surprised that in all this time I've never gotten one of their CDs to review. I know they've been mentioned on the site, but I don't know as if they've ever gotten a full album review. So with that in mind, here it goes.

Having such a prolific discography, I could spend months wandering through their back catalog for comparisons with previous works, but that's way too much work for me. In a nutshell, 'From Depths Profound and Inconceivable' is a combination of dark ambient and power electronics/noise. This isn't always my favorite combo; for me it can be like putting hot sauce on chocolate pudding. Sometimes though, it kind of works, and on 'FDP&I' it works pretty well. With 14 tracks to this album it seems pointless to try and describe each one, although I may try to describe some of them. 'FDP&I'is one of a two part series dedicated to and inspired by the work of H.P Lovecraft. (Is there any dark ambient artist who hasn't been enfatuated with Lovecraft?) On the opening, "Buried Temple of Belial," you get low electronic drone puncuated by crunchy, distorted guitat strikes, kind of minimal but effective for setting a creepy mood. A lot more low distorted electronic noise follows in the next track, and a dense dark ambient mood with steamy noise follows after. I really like the transient piece, "Passage," with it's subliminal guitar loop, ambient dark noises, and tremelo dirty guitar strikes. Not really noisy but definitely foreboding. After that comes a lot of low, rumbling power noise that sounds like icebergs disintegrating into the ocean. "Mysterium Of Supreme Knowledge" has a certain mystique to it with a repetitious echoey guitar phrase over low drone and other dark ambient sonic effluvia. So far, this is the real grabber of the album. I could listen to just this for...well, a good long time. The next couple of tracks are a deluge of noisy blackened and blasted offerings, and if you make it through that, you will come across the spooky "Moonlit Towers of Ruined Castles." Here, a demonic organ holds sway over souls trapped from eons ago. More virulent, dense noise follows until you get to the somewhat calm "Les Fleurs du Mal," a melancholy drone dirge. Lots of low rumbling "From The Charnel Bowels Of A Putrescent Earth" which continues on with "The Pale Watching Moon," albeit a little more intensely. "Desolate Mountains" seems as though it might continue along these lines, and to a degree it does, but with some moody, sparse, low-string guitar. That's it.

In conclusion, 'From Depths Profound and Inconceivable' seems to be a worthy addition to Wilt's ouevre, and when I have time I will likely check out some of their previous releases. If you don't like noise with your dark ambient, this might not be for you, but the whole thing is very well crafted and shouldn't be dismissed just because it will rattle a pair of woofers now and then. Limited to 100 copies.

Matter: Paroxysmal

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 02 2016
Artist: Matter (@)
Title: Paroxysmal
Format: CD
Label: Kvitnu (@)
Rated: *****
A paroxysm got defined as an uncontrollable outburst, but also as the acme of a pathological process. In the (dim) light of such a definition, the twelve tracks of the third album by Italian producer Fabrizio Matrone aka Matter for the Ukranian imprint Kvitnu, which keeps on moving towards more and more interesting sonic directions under the baton of Kotra and Zavoloka, sounds paroxysmal. Whether a track focuses on viscerally industrial-driven mechanical pulsations ("Depth", "Pressure", "Column", "Surge") or gets wisely channeled towards more abstract territories and beatless movements ("Exsolution", "Stone" or the final "Ash", which sounds like the logical end of a series of repeated combustions), each moment of "Paroxysmal" enucleates a moment or a sound which seems to exacerbate both the electric dispersion of rhythmical patterns and the gradual annihilation of the collapsing buildings, laying on smashed frequencies and deranged tones. Even though it could be considered logically related to his previous act "Biorhexistasy", "Paroxysmal" could reasonably be considered a further step in the explorations of harsh atonal territories by Matter, who wisely digs them by shattered swarms, noisy resonances, piercing beats and other sonic strategies. Some of them could vaguely resemble stuff like Celluloid Mata, Synapscape or Klangstabil, but speaking, in general, they manage to amplify the bipolarity between a constant aural tension and an astounding attention to detail, which makes it sound less rough than you could expect.
Artist: Andrew Reddy (@)
Title: Spitting broken teeth and mistranslations
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Andrew Reddy the creator of this work describes this as an album of amorphous noisescape tracks and cacophonous minimalist drones. It is hard to argue with this, the listener is bombarded by an onslaught of manipulated electronic and guitar sounds dominated by fuzzy interference, harsh scraping, crackling and buzzing with the odd field sample thrown in for good measure. Some tracks veer to dark ambient and are more immediate and compelling allowing faint glimmers of reflection, but in the main the the overriding ethos is less dynamic, bleak and suffocating. However, a highly stylised and scientific approach is evident in the crafting of these cold, harsh sounds. The track " precession" is apparently created from a system of examining molecular structure using their resonant frequencies, in this case Hydrogen. Strangely enough this track portrays a more cavernous and eerie atmosphere more reminiscent of deep space ambient with its ominous tones and distant crackling emerging from its blackness. The overall sound is not an easy listen, this was never the objective, it's more suited to dedicated noise fanatics who could enjoy dissecting the various dissonant elements. In a more poetic sense however it could be the soundtrack to an ongoing fundamental, chemical process or experiment where random elementary particles scream, burn, explode and die.

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