Wednesday, June 3, 2020
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Music Reviews

MATA: Archipel{o}gos

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Artist: MATA (@)
Title: Archipel{o}gos
Format: CD + Download
Label: ONLY FUCKING NOISE records
Rated: *****
The trio called MATA, consisting of Alessandro Bracalente (Electronics, Guitar, Vocals), Emanuele Sagripanti (Drums, Electronics), Mauro Mezzabotta (Bass, Synth) created a raw, dark and aggressive eight tracks album, impressively recorded/mixed by Manuel Kopf and mastered by Eraldo Bernocchi. It has a length of 40 minutes, sticking with a very conclusive artistic/compositional concept and a defined, crystal clear overall sound throughout the whole record.
"Archipel{o}gos" is MATA’s second release (October 4, 2019), following their first EP named "ATAM" (2017). The musical language and expression of the trio, which was introduced with the EP, got even more concretised, much harsher and darker in style and more international in communication (from Italian to English chant).

If Sepultura’s album "Roots" could be translated into industrial/electronic/noise rock music, "Archipel{o}gos" could be its match in regards of harsh spirit, raw power and percussive intensity.

Skillfully and artistically composed, arranged and produced, with a strong emphasis on drum sounds and rhythms. The bass drum – partially acoustic, partially electronic – is placed as the centerpiece of the album: carefully sound processed and delicately sustained by electro-percussive sound constructions and noise, and rounded-off with sparse, yet all the more piercing and cleverly put vocal parts, low hums and distorted guitars.
The trio set stark contrasts throughout the whole album (for example: compare "A Maltitude" with "What’s your Cover?"): from rampant energies such as big earthshaking bass drum stomps and strong distortions to the finest particles of sound such as fragile and minimal pulses, noises, chirps and hisses – everything is carefully put in order and well-defined in sound. Not to forget other tracks such as "M&D", "Underwater", "In The Pool" and "The Block" which unite these contrasts and dynamics as compositional entities.

Sometimes, I felt like listening to some kind of percussive "Mandelbrot Fractal Zoom" melting into an electronic soundscape extravaganza, then again it felt like being catapulted into a hammering steel machine which is creating some kind of strong, tribal drum tremors.
The musicians and engineers put so much love for details into drum sounds and into the sound production that it deserves a 5-star rating from my side. The devil always lies in the details, and it's obvious that they all put a lot of focus on exactly those. This takes time, passion and dedication and the result is truly impressive.

Introducing the album with "Message no.1" and to exit it with "Message no. 29" was a smart move to get to the heart of the album's content from the start and to top it off with an extra shot of raw, dark brutality. My tip for a first listen to catch an impression of the album’s spirit: "A Multitude".


Camecrude: Enclave I

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Artist: Camecrude
Title: Enclave I
Format: CD + Download
Label: Cioran Records (@)
Rated: *****
Well, after reviewing a couple of noise albums recently I really wasn't in the mood for another, but this has been hanging around for a while so let's get on with it. Inspired by Emil Cioran (Romanian philosopher and essayist, whose work is noted for its pervasive philosophical pessimism, and frequently engages with issues of suffering, decay, and nihilism), Camecrude is the project of Valentin Laborde, an hurdy gurdy player located in the French Pyrenees. (For those whose only reference to a hurdy gurdy is Donovan's song "Hurdy Gurdy Man," it's a medieval string instrument played by turning a wheel with a crank and pressing keys for changing notes.) Camecrude creates a unique kind of music by crossbreeding noise, hurdy gurdy, drone, along with words from Emil Cioran, and occitan exorcisms. With an album recorded only during his insomnias, Camecrude brings his own vision of a true pessimism and his reading from E.M.C. Of course, these readings are all in French, so you won't get the full effect unless you know the language.

The album consists of six tracks - 1. "A l'Endarrer co de Maudit" (Behind the Damned) [7:57} 2. Desarticulation du Temps (Disarticulation of Time) [6:12] 3. "Te Dobti" (I Doubted You) [10:25] 4. "Mesure de la Souffrance" (Measure of Suffering) [6:33] 5. "L'Ombre de Soi" (The Shadow of Self) [10:30] 6. "Variations sur la Mort" (Variations on Death) [9:21]. First, I have to say that it is very hard to believe that the only (source) instrument on this recording is a hurdy gurdy, even processed through a multitude of electronics gear (which it undoubtedly must be) there is just too much sonic variety for my ears to believe that it came from just one source. The artist (as well as the label) describes Camecrude as a harsh ritual noise project, but from what I'm hearing, it's really so much more than that. I think surrealism comes into play, even though the term is cliched and overused, I feel as though it is vitally applicable here. Not just because the artist is French (after all, Surrealism was first and foremost a French art movement) but because it was created to shock people out of complacency. 'Enclave I' will definitely do that without hardly even trying. At times in this work wordless voices lift up as if they are singing the praises of some electronic god. At other times you will encounter a hellstorm of noise, static and electronic madness. There is a lengthy passage in "L'Ombre de Soi" that is a rather quiet interlude (after experiencing a healthy dollop of electronic and vocal chaos) that is dream-like and somewhat musical; not quite serene but like a passing memory of a more pleasant time. This is one example of what makes 'Enclave I' such a radically different harsh noise album.

There are numerous subtleties that many noise artists don't incorporate in their performance that seem innate to the music of Camecrude. That's what really makes the difference here. Still, if ear-bleeding, mind-bending noise is what you're after, you'll find that too. "Variations sur la Mort" literally screams with it once it gets going and carries it through right to the end. I should warn you that 'Enclave I' is a difficult listening experience, and I wouldn't recommend it to the merely curious. You really need to have a love of harsh noise and power electronics to appreciate it. One critical note - I think some of this could have benefitted from some sort of percussion/rhythm. Likely it was not part of the artist's vision, but there were points in a couple of the pieces that I could see it justified. Just sayin'. Overall though 'Enclave I' is an intriguing work that merits attention. I think the CD in the black wooden box with the extra artwork is sold out (being a limited edition) but you can still do the download.


Project:Void: Morgue Of Broken Souls

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Artist: Project:Void (@)
Title: Morgue Of Broken Souls
Format: CD + Download
Label: Bugs Crawling out of People (@)
Rated: *****

Well, here we are in power electronics/noise-world again boys and girls, and this time it's the brand new release by Corvus Rex's solo project, Project:Void titled 'Morgue of Broken Souls'. Gee, I thought morgues were supposed to be quiet, but this one has some lively (broken) souls who just aren't resting easily on their slabs. I have no prior experience with Corvus Rex or Project:Void so I can't really give any background on this, but I can start by letting you know this album is 13 track over 69 minutes which should be sufficient for most noise enthusiasts. Oddly, the album begins with a few normal piano chords (a touch of the neoclassical?) before the staticky noise creeps in. It's certainly an interesting way of easing the listener into the acid bath of what follows. All at once it stops dead and you are thrust into the "Hole," a hellish intense noise atmosphere with scratchy distorted vocals. Forget trying to decipher any words/lyrics here; it sounds like Gollum being tortured by the minions of Sauron deep in the recesses of Mount Doom. Back with some more neoclassical (cello, this time) at the opening of "Blood of Despair" which carries on longer than expected before the industrial sturm und drang takes over with more screechy-scratchy vocals.

Stylistically a little different but no less noisy is "From The Ashes." A third of the way in there is a feedback interlude providing a little respite from the wall of distortion, but it doesn't last long before you're thrust back into the maelstrom again. A few piano notes prefaces "Demons" prior to the distorto-voice/electronic noise tempest but a little further down the line the piece is punctuated by brief staccato noise bursts followed by echoed effects trails before the mania begins again. "Attrition" begins as a slightly calmer piece but you may just be in the eye of the hurricane. There is still industrial noise swirling about but also a sense of distance. I don't know if the effects on the voice are wearing off or the drugs are kicking in, but it seems as though I can distinguish a word here or there- "a secret...of the people...dignity...still the...grinding...continues... “ It might have been helpful to have provided a lyric sheet, but I guess that was too much to ask. "Hate Mask" is in your face from the git-go, with no punches pulled, only thrown harder. This is a track for our times, full of vituperation and intolerance. A relentless assault on the eardrums. If you live in a city, play this full blast out your apartment window and the cops will be there within five minutes, guaranteed.

There actually is a track titled "Acid Attack" on this album, and after the woman's scream, I don't think Corvus Rex is talking about LSD. This is actually a vocal-heavy track, and I'm sort of glad I can't make out the words. (Personally, I find nothing more heinous than throwing acid in someone's face, except maybe setting a person on fire). The tone is a little different on "Drown" but basic effect is the same; distorted vocals and feedback with an undercurrent of malevolent industrial strength noise. Breaks and pauses accent the miasma of death odors giving false hope to the doomed. I like the opening industrial machine-loop rhythm of "Blood Visions" but I think the scream and change into mayhem came much too soon. (It would have helped to build some dramatic tension.) The somewhat spooky "Coma" does a much better job of allowing the atmosphere to permeate the piece without getting caught up in a shitstorm of noise. I've never been a fan of the single high-pitched piercing tone, but that's what opens "End Game". Fortunately it doesn't last long before being drown in noise squalls. Later in the piece it's like you're in the video game arcade from hell; by the time you figured out how to play, it's GAME OVER and you're dead. We end this excursion into the 'Morgue of Broken Souls' (one the sort-of title track "Morgue") with some squiggly circuit-bending, and a sombre recitation by The Crow Bride. In a way, this almost seems like the most creative track on the album and a very good closer.

It's a given that this won't appeal to everyone, and even some noise enthusiasts might fault the album for not having enough this or that, or too much of the other, but I think Project:Void has contributed a solid entry into the genre with enough distinguishing features to make it a worthwhile purchase for power electronics/noise addicts.


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Artist: This Is What I Hear When You Talk
Title: Death Pit
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
This Is What I Hear When You Talk is the harsh noise wall project of Inner Demons head Dan Fox. His pedigree has long been established, so let’s get right into the music. We kick off with “Death Pit I,” which is a rumbling wall of machine-like noise. Overall, you get the sense that you are in a factory with many machines running, but not quite in unison. These machines have been running for so long that they have begun to deteriorate and the whole thing is running just a bit off center. What keeps this interesting to me is the fact that it is not the typical wall of static noise, but rather a shifting wall that resists finding a consistent beat. On to the next disc, we have “Death Pit II,” which heads more into static wall territory. Heavy bass rumble mixed with bits of high-pitched noise give the feel of listening to someone using an angle grinder from the other side of a wind tunnel. It is not completely repetitive, but lacks the hypnotic quality of “Death Pit I.” Overall, if you like your noise with a lot of heavy bass, you’ll want to spend some time in the Death Pit. This set weighs in at 46 minutes.


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Artist: This Is What I Hear When You Talk
Title: I Want Brett To Like This, Too
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
This Is What I Hear When You Talk is back with more harsh noise wall for your listening enjoyment, so let's see what he has in store for us this time. This album consists of two three inch discs. Disc one consists of one 22 minute track titled “[CLUSTERFU(K->GCPRO->OCT-1->INSANE->E616II_LOFI->OCT-1->(RUPTURE->ENO_RVB)->BLACK_RAT->DD600]+[NPG->DAME->HOLYWAR->OBSCURA]” (how’s that for a radio friendly title?). This is a wall of crackling, rumbling noise with a blast of foghorn-like drone kicking in every second for five seconds at a time. The result is oddly peaceful because of the rhythm of the piece. Disc two brings us a more traditional harsh noise wall with the 22 minute track “(VOLCA_BEATS->GC_PRO->FX57->DISTORTION_WAVE_SHAPER_FILTER->FX86->HOLY_WAR_->INSANE->DD600)+(HADRON COLLIDER->DAME->TM300->BEQ700->OBSCURA).” At first blush, this just sounds like a standard wall of staticy noise, but this track really requires a listen through headphones to catch all of the subtlety that TIWIHWYT is throwing down. Hidden under the static is a lot of shifting tones and a heartbeat-like sound that is woven throughout the track until it begins to fall apart halfway through in a case of arrhythmia. Overall, this was pleasant listening for those who like their noise to shift at a glacial pace.



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