Thursday, June 17, 2021

Music Reviews

Semănat: Glina / Pole

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Artist: Semănat
Title: Glina / Pole
Format: Tape & Digital Download
Label: Apport! (@)

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Semanat is an project from The Republic of Lithuania active since ca. 2013 in the noise, drone, post-industrial area. Not much can be found of the artist behind, most likely on purpose.
The most recent EP features two longish tracks. At first there is a well balanced and structured rhythmic noise flow on "Glina", aided by processed field recordings which builds an intense soundwork stretching over nearly 14 dynamic minutes. I wish I had a clue what the voice at the end is talking about.
"Pole", starting with static (?) surface noise and a deeply buried melancholic sample and processed voice below an underworldly gong which gets supported by shifting layers of noise and a rhytmic mill wheel. All the time the voice is building up to a multi-layered chorus of the damned transfering the listener in a slight trance which is resolved during the last minutes.
Both tracks work their way in the subconscious and leave their echos. A rewarding listening experience - Aciu.

Camecrude: Enclave II-II

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Artist: Camecrude
Title: Enclave II-II
Format: CDx2 (double CD)
Label: Cioran Records (@)
Rated: * * * * *
Here comes the Hurdy Gurdy Man man again and he's not singing songs of love...the industrial noise hurdy gurdy man that is, Valentin Laborde under his project name Camecrude. 'Enclave II-II' could be construed as a continuation of his previous 'Enclave I' (2018) which I reviewed positively back then, and though there are some similarities, 'Enclave II-II' takes things to another level entirely. First, this is a double album (2 CD) and the intensity has been cranked up a few notches, not that 'Enclave I' was lacking much in the brutal noise department. It also does not have as much spoken word (dialogue) as the first, but still retains a lot of vocal chant, but a bit different this time around. Camecrude's modus operandi is largely the same; voices, hurdy gurdy, Lyra-8, industrial and nature recordings. Some additional percussion on a couple of tracks is by Clément Joseph-Alexandre & Laurent Hayet (Ginkgotuk), as well as additional voices and lyrics by Malou Rivoallan, and Stase:Orgone. Inspired by books like "La Luxure et la Mort" from Albert Caraco, "Précis de Décomposition" by Emil Cioran or "Le Monde comme conscience et comme rien" by Ladislav Klima, this pessimistic double album is divided into two sides, one first part with extended tracks for the fall and the drama of conscience— another side with dark old sorcery meditations around insomnias and negative utilitarianism.

It all begins on Disc 1 with "Les Maux : Minja Los Que Non Te Mingen," which takes a couple of minute to rev up, but when it does. It’s like some infernal washing machine filled with cement blocks while some Outer Gods cultist high priest chants over it. That chant must get answered because it isn't long before the mad pipes of Azathoth play an insane tune. Yep, this is the heralding of ultimate chaos, and Lovecraftian devotees should love it, although there is nary a mention of good old Howard Phillips or the Cthulhu Mythos here. If this track isn't enough to scarce the absolute shit out of you, perhaps "Les Sorts : A La Tèrra Volatz" might do the trick. This is intense black ritual with menacing sub-bass and an assortment of sonic effluvia that definitely gives the impression of being led toward your chains! When the additional percussion kicks in, you can just picture the dancing writhing cultists with knives stops...then begins again with renewed fervor. Of course, you can't make out the chanted words (likely in French, but who knows what blasphemous language it might be), but there is no doubt of malevolent intent. From this point (9 minutes in) it only get more frenzied and intense, ferociously building to an outrageously wild climax, descending into chittering madness. Following that, a much needed respite titled "Interlude," but at 3:48 it doesn't last long. Before you know it you're in "La Mort : Précis de Décomposition" which starts off sounding like a John Cale experimental viola drone piece, but you know that it's the hurdy gurdy. There's a strong low rumbling undercurrent to support it as it drones on for a good long time while wordless voices urge it along. This is quite a noisy piece that only gets noisier for a spell. At about 11:27 it changes into something less brutal and a little more musical, yet still dronish. Still, there is a sense of unholy anguish here.

Disc 2 - "Anathème" begins with the incessant buzzing of bees (the hive mind?), a tone as annoying as an unattended teakettle whistle, an ominous bass and obscured and processed low voices before launching into the fearfully chilling musical meat of the track which blossoms into a full-fledged bouquet of the flowers of evil, infernal voices and other musical maladies to boot. I should point out that that there are more tracks (9) on this disc than the first, and most are of shorter duration than most of the tracks on disc 1. Harrowing voices are at the forefront of "Rituel d'Avortement" with numerous gyrations and acrobatics over a rich industrial background. "La Jambe Crue" has the sound of a scratchy old vinyl record and something like a slow moving freight train before the real percussion picks up the rhythm, eventually turning a bit militant. I realize now that I'm spending much too much time trying to describe the sound as opposed to interpreting it. Suffice to say the rest of the album is chock full of fire and brimstone malevolent rancor exhibited in a variety of different dark ambient and brutal noise schemes, as well as some unexpected surprises (such as Malou Rivoallan's vocals on "Sauge Lente") and strange musicality. 'Enclave II-II' stuns and engages on every level, pushing the boundaries of the artistic possibilities in the power noise genre merged with ritualistic dark ambient. Epic - A masterwork; something that will set the standard for years to come.

With packaging similar to 'Enclave I,' this limited edition (199 copies only) is a double CD that comes in a handmade black woodbox, hand polished and hand design, Including 2 art prints, a ritual booklet of 8 pages and antinatalist & sorcery artefacts. 26 Euros or so, but worth it, or you can go cheap with digital download for 12.

Endif: Falling Into The Sky

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Artist: Endif (@)
Title: Falling Into The Sky
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Manual Control Records
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: * * * * *
It has taken 12 years until Jason Hollis could decide to return with a new album of his IDM / Ambient-Electronica / Rhythmic Noise music alter ego Endif, his third so far. Since it has been a while back let's bring his earlier works back into your memory, when Jason has counted to best signed projects of such renowned labels like Crunch Pod (album “Meta” out in 2006) and Tympanik Audio (album “Carbon” out in 2008). Once highly praised and named in a same row with such outstanding projects like Terrorfakt, E.S.A., Alter Der Ruine, Pneumatic Detach, Cervello Elettronico, C/A/T, Caustic and/or Manufactura, Jason surely had his heydays in the mid-2000s, just in those days when the Rhythmic-Noise movement became relatively popular.
He now presents us under his own Manual Control label this new album which is sort of a collection of the things recorded in between. The time span of these tracks includes the years in between 1999 and 2015 and these tracks have been constructed in different cities (Reno, Seattle and at least Minneapolis, where Jason nowadays lives).
The first impression was a bit strange I have to admit and it took me a while until I noticed that artists tend to develop instead to repeat themselves over and over again. Same has happened to Endif plus it also has to be noticed that Jason seemingly produces differently than before, I guess the “Everything-on-this-album-was-sequenced-and-assembled-in-Fruity-Loops-edited-in-Cool-Edit-Pro”-times of the “Meta” album are gone for good.
“Modularism” is magic word of Jason's creation processes and the booklet gives some interesting summaries how each of the tracks have been constructed. It's a rather more glitch, experimental-minded Electronica outlet, much lesser straight oriented than on the both albums before. The often pronounced European Electronica influence with which Endif has been often confronted has almost gone, abstractly produced but still densely installed Ambient-Electronica-layers leading the scenario appointed by a massive and crunchy poly-rhythmic percussion feast.
Asides the dark voice samples in “Blind Angels” you'll get a real projectile-like bombardment placed into the wide stereo field blown through your head (use a pair of good headphones!).But since this albums extracts its content out of different time epochs, I strangely found the oldest one “City” with its massive interruptions of the complete song structure as being one the outstanding tune on here (“Antiquated time-stretch algorithms and photoshopped beats fillet superheated Moog blasts and Mono/Poly blips. It's a feature, not a bug” - so the info of the artist). And with “Dislocation” and moreover “Grain Of Sand” he finally returns into that area of a more accessible style, even if the latter one ends in a another anarchistic sound chaos.
What still impresses is the crispy and crystal-clear sound production out of Jason's studio, this meticulously mastered by Michael Dietel. Even if this album as a whole needs some more spins to get completely via the ear-drums into the brain, this is for sure one of the state-of-art albums in this rather experimental kind of modern IDM / Electronica-music.

Walrus Noise Wall: s/t

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Artist: Walrus Noise Wall
Title: s/t
Format: 3" Mini CD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: * * * * *
I had previously reviewed WNW (Wonky Noise Wall that time) and enjoyed it. I like some variety in my noise, so some of the noise wall stuff doesn't quite work for me. This, however, is different from Fox's This Is What I Hear When You Talk, which is much more static. Plus, you really have to love that he doesn't take himself too seriously with a name like Walrus Noise Wall. Perhaps he needed to inject some humor into his music as a counterpoint to his recent spate of furious TIWIHWYT releases. With some idea of what we're in for, let's get into it.

All I can say about the first disc is "Holy Analog-O-Rama, Batman!" "Boat" warbles and pounds its way through the track with a ton of repetitive pulsing throughout. But like the other WNW project I reviewed a while back, this one changes over time, shifting little by little. Suddenly it all stops cold.

On to "Dicks," which is like a bunch of people hammering in a corrugated drainage pipe as people run bandsaws and various shortwave radios in the background. If you like it noisy, this is one for you.

What makes this set work is that it all functions like a wheel that is just slightly out of true. As it keeps turning, it becomes increasingly off-balance. It never quite falls apart, but it keeps shifting and changing. Both discs weigh in at 20 minutes each and are as much fun as the titles suggest. This is a nice addition that sits well next to Wonky Noise Wall in the collection. I'll look forward to the next W in the series.

This Is What I Hear When You Talk: Eviscerate Your Local Fascist

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Artist: This Is What I Hear When You Talk
Title: Eviscerate Your Local Fascist
Format: 3" Mini CD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: * * * * *
This Is What I Hear When You Talk is the harsh noise wall project of Dan Fox, the man behind the Inner Demons label. He has been pretty busy lately with this project as of late, and much of it is topical and timely. Let’s see what this one is like.

Disc 1 is titled "I." Heavy, low end rumble mixed with crunchy static. Bits of whistling feedback are buried underneath the noise, but so faint that I had to stop the music to see if it was part of the music or if something was happening outside. This is subtle in movement, but it does shift and change, even as the rumbling static remains similar. Nice to kick back and relax to (if you like noise, you know what I'm talking about). It's almost peaceful, despite its title.

Disc 2 ("II") keeps the same rumbling theme going, with a lot of underlying scraping and crunchy static. This is a lot more variety in texture than a lot of the other TIWIHWYT stuff that I have heard. In much the same way that a good artist can create a wide variety of shading with an ordinary pencil, Fox manages to create a nice palette of textures with static. Like disc 1, it's subtle, but not too subtle.

If you like your walls of noise crunchy and heavy on the bass, this will be 44 minutes well spent.