Non Toxique Lost have been plying their industrial and political electronic attitude-driven music for over three decades now. After the tragic loss of long-time member Steffen Schütze in 2017 they’re now a duo of Gerd Neumann aka Sea Wanton and Cem Oral aka Jammin’ Unit. While their older cassette-only works are being reissued on vinyl and CD, this is a brand new studio recording. It’s based on a “surprisingly dancy” live set that they performed for the Klanggalerie label’s 25 anniversary. Although it was videoed, and parts of the performance are available on YouTube, nobody recorded good quality audio on the night, so the band went into their studio and recorded it- so it’s studio quality, but with an energetic, live feel. It’s a masterful journey through the deeper darker side of electronica, with industrial tones that never really get too heavy. Sweeping effects, backwards percussion, squelchy bass arpeggios and various stretched-out noises create atmospheres that feel like an inverted mirror image of dance music. After the screaming German introduction of “Bewegen Wir Uns Noch”, the advanced restraint of the music is on display in the nearly-sinister “Dulce Et Decorum Est”, with its super-gradual build and unfold. The contrasting tensions are clear on tracks like “I.N.T.A.S.B.T.L.A.S.S.”, where the dubby understated electronic groove (reminiscent of some recent Orb tracks) is unmoved by the angry shouting that’s initially stamped on it. “Schwarze Mamba” is absolutely mesmeric, and a highlight. It’s got the long, patient building patterns of Tangerine Dream, but with a carefully exposed backbone of attitude, and (eventually) a vocal that’s oddly reminiscent of The Doors’ “Rebel Woman”. A similar atmospheric build also makes a joy of the catchily titled “Buchenwald (Case No. 000-50-9. 31 Pleas: NG!)”. People who like their industrial electronic more urgent and relentless will be more drawn to tracks like “Untergang”, a war-like call to arms where the pulsing bass pattern doesn’t let up or pretend to be clever, or the more aggressive snares and beat poetry-ish vocals of “Buchenwald”. “Ich BIn Nicht Sisyphos” exposes the band’s 80’s industrial roots. The promotional material is right to pitch Non Toxique Lost as an underrated band, and in some ways they’re quite understated too, showing their musical teeth in moderation and with a lot of maturity. Despite being supposedly quite raw, as a representation of a live set, nevertheless this is an extremely strong industrial electronica album that ought to garner a lot of attention.
To paraphrase James Brown, Dan Fox is perhaps the hardest working man in the noise scene. He has several projects, and Fail is his harsh noise project. You know the pedigree, so let’s see what this one is like.
“191113” opens the disc up with ominous drone, crackling noise, feedback, and a melody running throughout that would be almost peaceful if it wasn't so unsettling. This is the moment in the soundtrack where the villain is hatching their plan, but they are so blinded by anger and a thirst for revenge that it is hard to think straight. This is incredible, and this track alone is worth the price of admission. “060725” changes it up with some straight up digital noise. Starts off with low rumbling - the calm before the storm - slowly building with some high-pitched feedback and hiss. This is an exercise in restraint, however, and he never completely opens the floodgates. There are periods of noise punctuated by quiet passages. This is well done harsh noise.
Overall, this is one of the best discs that I have heard from Fail, and I have heard a lot of them. If you like it noisy, you need to get this one. This album weighs in at around 21 minutes and is limited to 42 copies.
I’m enjoying the international scene that Inner Demons is bringing together in their latest offerings. So where are we going today? Russia, with Istochie and a heavy slab of harsh noise for your listening pleasure. "Snake Source" kicks it all off with a heavy, rumbling harsh noise wall. Everything is overdriven and distorted to oblivion. Well done. Now on to "Death Place." I have to admit that at first it seemed like it was the same track as the first. But on closer listen, there are differences but they are incredibly subtle. It is pleasant listening for those who like noise, but I would have liked more variety. This disc weighs in at 20 minutes and is limited to 42 copies.
Time for some international noise on this 2x3" split release. Mai 12 and Veronica Moser both hail from Greece, so let’s see what the Greek noise scene has to offer. Mai 12 kicks it off with one 22 minute track titled “Noise Gets Harsher Just Before Extinction.” Walls and walls of noise. I would have liked a bit more going on here, but this is exactly the kind of walls I like. Heavy, rumbling noise with just a bit of static.
Next up, we have three tracks by Veronica Moser with 1, 2, and 3 as the titles. “1” is a wonderful track that features low bass noise with a kind of rhythm to it and some analogue synth underneath it. Kind of teases you by cutting to complete silence occasionally. “2” continues the mix of synth, static, and completely overdriven noise. “3” shifts gears a bit, and almost borders on noisy dark ambient. More passages of sudden silence, but it didn't seem to work as well with this track, and almost became a distraction. A lot more atmospheric than the other tracks.
Overall, this is interesting work and provides a good introduction to both of these artists. I will be interested to see how they progress. The Greek noise scene seems to be in good hands.
I could not find much about Poisonous Cure, and the Bandcamp page seems to be defunct, so let’s get right into the noise. Container Home Dream opens up with noise, but this is the kind of track that slowly builds over time, rather than coming out swinging. It’s a bit heavy on the high end for my tastes, but they certainly know how to keep everything moving along and interesting. This is not static noise where someone turns on a TV set to the static channel and records it for 20 minutes while they go out for lunch. There is a lot of variety in here, even as the base of the track stays similar for much of the time, holding everything together. The end is a wall of hiss and static that remains until the end. This is solid noise, and well worth checking out. This disc weighs in at 18:06, and is limited to 42 copies.