Monday, June 1, 2020
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Artist: Cut Hands
Title: Black Mamba
Format: CD
Label: Susan Lawly/Very Friendly (@)
Distributor: Cargo Records
Rated: *****
In a 2011 interview with The Quietus (, William Bennett talked about the effects of polyrhythms on the nervous system, that when we run out of body parts to move, 'It (the rhythm) goes inside, and things happen inside on a more metaphysical level. And on the more rhythmic tracks that's what I'm attempting.'

Cut Hands is William Bennett's so called 'Afro Noise' project. He's best known as one of noise music's longest contributors, as one half of the duo Whitehouse, formed in 1980. Whitehouse would push audiences to exultant states by use of transgressive sounds, language, imagery; a 30-some year barrage to break down all beliefs, all conditioning, to push someone through to a pure experience. Over the years, what most people have come to think of as 'noise' (power electronics, HNWs, synth explorations, tape collage) has become increasingly easy to assimilate: its the same experience every time. Bennett became wary of the technological arms race of the traditional noiz freak. After experimenting with a DJ night of Vodoun ritual drumming at Glasgow's Optimo club, Bennett realized the ritualistic potency and ability to confound and trance-form, when exposing audiences to the rhythms. He pared his music down to sparse percussive elements, then layered with feedback and buzzy synths.

'Black Mamba' is the second full-length from the project, after last year's 'Afro Noise vol. 1', which made everyone drool. Stripped down and sparse, cut hands weaves layers of djembes, doundouns, ksing-ksing and synths into a hypnotic tapestry that will make yr insides dance, for sure. 'Witness The Spread Of The Dream' kicks things off with a tmantra, read by Mimsy DeBlois, who designed the sweet, sweet voodoo album art, and sounds like a creepy hypnotism loop, until tearing into the pounding tribalism of the title track, that sounds like walking into a voodoo ritual, midstep. This tracks showcases one of the deadly strengths of Cut Hands : the ability to change tempo. Much of this record reads like bleak, gray British techno, but almost all dance music gets caught up in one BPM, one groove, and it takes a real prodigy to make a computer swing like a human. Cut Hands African ritual is the height of complexity, its like trying to count a snowstorm. The rational mind goes to sleep, overwhelmed, allowing for something beautiful and ancient to transpire. This version of 'Black Mamba' is a slight variation on the vinyl edition, released earlier in the year, and answers yet another question; yes, you do need to buy every Cut Hands release.

Its continually inspiring to see people who've been around for a long time constantly reinventing the game. They've had time to master and explore their craft, and sometimes it seems that the post-punk underground has been able to produce a number of downright geniuses. The clubs are perfectly poised to fall for Black Mamba, a part of a number of blackened post-Techno magicians rolling up their sleeves and getting primal. In a world that is predominantly defined by people making similar styles of music with similar gear, there is an increasing demand for electronic music that is homespun, handmade. We are all moving into the Heart Of Darkness, with ritual rhythms lighting up the night with the ghosts of embers. William Bennett, (and Raime, and Ekoplekz, and Shackleton), are sneaking in trance music to the clubs, bringing the ultimate dopamine fix, waking something ancient and powerful. Its coming out of a movement from Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, through '90s industrial music and rave. Its dark and its smart and its arty and its weird; i, for one, have not been this excited about a wave of music for a number of years. Hopefully, Cut Hands continual ascent forces cliche noise bands, as well as electronic producers, to step up their game and not get too fatted. And also hopefully, this decadent ritual will continue to spread.