Thursday, 8 September 2011

Mid Leopard Violet Prism - Carbohydrate Somnambulism

Artist Mid Leopard Violet Prism
Label Total Vermin
Year 2011
Genre(s) Psychedelic Noise, Drone

Another tape from the two headed noise monster that is MLVP. Featuring Nackt Insecten and Smear Campaign joining up again to make more long form, psychedelic twinged drones and sharp static bubbles. Whilst both artists are well known in their own right for their other projects they manage to bring their A-game to this tape.

Opening with Battery Acid Pumped Through Veins a tense drone rolls around like a snowdrift. Soothing at one minute, unnerving the next. The juxtaposition twixt the two moods offers the meat of this tape. The noise contained within serves a narrative purpose. From the very opening the listener is transported to a different realm. One full of broken machinery and parched deserts. Soundtracked by the sound of a million blow circuits and mechanical death throes. The A side contains calmer, drawn out music whereas the B side serves up slightly harsher and more disconcerting sounds.

There's always going to be comparisons drawn between MLVP and Smear Campaign/Nackt Insecten, but for me the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Full Meat Jacket - Full Meat Jacket

Artist Full Meat Jacket
Label Fag Tapes
Year 2005
Genre(s) Noisecore(?), Harsh Noise

Yet another mysterious tape from Fag Tapes. There is little to no information on this band available. As such it's up to the music to do the talking, a front that this tape will happily back up.

It's hard to classify many of the acts on Fag Tapes but none more so than Full Meat Jacket. Utilising drums, guitar and vocals to make many short, sharp attacks. It's nigh on impossible to pick out individual elements from the wave of sounds on display. Occasionally vocals will raise out of the swell but never in a fashion that would make them understandable. I find it hard to tell if the tape is one long tracks or if the many pauses denote the end of songs. Regardless when taken as a whole the tape unleashes a fury that is seldom seen in the somewhat bland noise scene nowadays.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Marc Broude - Psychological Warfare

Artist Marc Broude
Label No Zen
Year 2006
Genre(s) Black Metal, Industrial

A short but sweet 7'' single (Review of a low bitrate mp3 provided by the artist however) from 2006 here. Offering two slabs of industrial black metal? Blackened industrial metal? I don't know quite how to define this. The A-Side, God Smacker, is a droning metal attack. Harsh distorted vocals rest atop a churning sea of droning instruments. If it were to have a motto it would be Carpe Jugulum (Seize the throat) as that is exactly what it does. Closer in nature to Thesyre than Axis of Perdition.

The B-Side is closer to industrial than black metal, steady drumming and what sounds to be sampled alarms provide the backing to the sonic assault. Sparser than the preceding track, allowing plenty of breathing space. There is still the repetitive edge, one that doesn't really work with this track and only serves to make it feel longer than it necessarily needs to be.

This release is pretty good, though it lacks any real sense of purpose. We have one good track and one decent track that don't seem to share any thematic or stylistic coherence. The release simply comes across as music for music's sake.

The Savage Young Taterbug - River Mortis

Artist The Savage Young Taterbug
Year 2009
Label Night People
Genre(s) Lo-Fi, Noise Pop

Have you ever wondered what would've transpired had Daniel Johnston never received help, but rather had stuck with The Butthole Surfers? Me neither. That said, I'm willing to bet that it's nothing like The Savage Young Taterbug, en yet it's still the closest measurement I can offer. I don't know if I've ever heard something quite akin to Mr. Charles Free (If that is even his name, he seems to go by many). Like a jam circle gathering out in the parched desert after hearing of the Tate murders, The Savage Young Taterbug gives forth vibes of both freewheeling hippydom and the destruction of those once great times.

To pin down the music is enough to drive one mad. There's certainly some shoegaze-esq elements to the sound, but mapped down a far more lo-fi path than most chose to tread. Elements of drone and even Americana creep in to the swirling compositions. Each ten minute track tentatively treads through a thousand different genres before landing, foggy as it is, in the listeners lap. The vocals are occasionally ethereal whispers, crooning just beyond comprehension, occasionally emotive rasps still just beyond comprehension.

I really don't know how to best sum this up, all that is left in my mind after a few thorough listens is that Mr. Free has crossed the line twixt lunatic and genius, but I'll be damned if I know in which direction.

Where is This - Digital Fire

Artist Where is This
Year 2011
Label Kovorox Sound
Genre(s) Harsh Noise/Industrial

Coming at us from Lea Cumming's label, Kovorox Sound, is a full lengh by Ireland's first son of creepy crawly noise, Where is This. A mixture of digital and analogue sources are deployed to forge the sonic whirlpool served up. Across 35 minutes and 8 tracks a distinct atmosphere is created (Which is no suprise for WiT). This time around, however, there is also a much harsher edge than has reared it's head before.

Tracks such as Big Black Sex Cop are more direct and closer to some of the early originators of the genre than previous WiT work. That by no means replaces the more atmospheric style that I, for one, am so enamoured with. The harsher elements act as an excellent counterpoint to the more atmosphere heavy elements. That's not to say that this is a fantastic release, for certain there are a few areas that don't quite work for me, the third track - Your Pop Career's Gone Down in Flames - feels as if there is a tad too much dead space serving no purpose and causes the track to stumble in its flow.

This release manages to serve up the two sides of the Where is This coin, from the harsh electronic assaults to the calm, almost relaxing soundscapes (Obsolete Robots...) with just the hint of psychedelia creeping in (Phobot). If I were to have one main issue with the release it'd be down to the packaging. I fail to understand the gulf in presentation for some Kovorox releases. Here we have a simple cd-r with the Cat # written on and a two panel cardboard cover in a slipcase. Some other Kovorox releases are treated to on-disc printing/disc labels and given the half DVD case treatment. For all it's a DIY label this just feels sort of, I dunno, lacking?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Where is This - Narcissus at the Gym

Artist Where is This
Year 2011
Label Bored Bear Recordings
Genre(s) Harsh Noise/Industrial

Another release from Ireland's Mark Ward, under his Where is This moniker, Narcissus at the Gym serves up around thirty minutes of tense soundscapes and uneasy listening. Before starting on the actual musical content I just need some time to praise the presentation. Narcissus... is served up with a standard (Though beautifully drawn) J-card that sets the tone and deals with the themes of the release. This is alongside a short booklet with writings also surrounding the themes.

As with previous WiT effort, Elegant Domesticity, the atmosphere is the primary focal point of the release. Heavy electronics serve a specific purpose, bent and twisted into a claustrophobic incantation. The high and low end dance with one another in some insane provocative dance. Whilst each side of the tape is split in to three distinct tracks they flow together and work as a whole. Each side's scant 15 minute duration passes as if it were much shorter. Leading to repeated relistens.

Whilst there are six tracks on this release I feel it would be doing the tape a dis-service by referring to them by themselves. Each side of the tape forms a distinct gestalt, strengthened by the juxtaposition and combination of each of the three tracks. The A Side opens with creeping electronics and soundscapes that call to mind early industrial works, slowly morphing into harsher and more direct assaults. Walls of static being to be erected, adding to the claustrophobia, trapping the listener and forcing them to submit. The industrial styles carry on throughout the release, ending the side with an almost danceable section that calls to mind early EBM. This juxtaposes perfectly with the harsher elements of the music to create even more tense atmospheres.

The B side opens with harsh feedback wailing, subtle changes growing in the background and becoming more apparent. The perfect pace is achieved for the coming tracks, a slow pace allows for the atmosphere to build amidst the tumbling waves of noise. There isn't a minute of wasted space on either side of this tape, both are full, but organically so. Not one single second of this release is misused. Everything slots in to place and makes this release one of the best, so far, of 2011.

I'd also like to take a moment to praise this release for it's thematic concerns. From the art and the booklet there's a very clear theme laid out for the release, a theme which carries over to the noise (Which, and I assume I've done this correctly, makes a perfect soundtrack to reading the mini-book that's included). It's becoming more common for releases to be cobbled together and lack a cohesive narrative or drive, a trap that Where is This has managed to avoid. I really can't recommend this tape enough and I'm fairly certain it's gonna find itself in my best of 2011 list.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Divorce Party - Astrocongertion Oporium

Artist Divorce Party
Label None
Year 2011
Genre(s) Noise Rock

Yet more balls to the wall Noise Rock from the lads in Divorce Party. Showing definite progression from their last EP whilst still maintaining every element that managed to make that so great. Weighing in at a scant 5 tracks and just over five minutes of all out pleasure. It would take away from the release to review each track as the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Almost everything is covered in these short tracks though. As with the last review Divorce Party are clearly influenced by many bands but I'm finding it almost impossible to identify any of them as the band moves around so much within each track, where there was once a trace of Melt Banana there will suddenly by a Jesus Lizard-esq riff. When listening to Divorce Party all I want to do is dance (Seriously). Why are these guys still self releasing? Are labels so blind to good music these days?

Long story short: You owe it to yourself to listen to this, and to their earlier EP. So why not bop over to their Bandcamp page (Linked above) and support some good music? If you're too lazy to scroll up I must demand you FUCKING CLICK HERE NOW!