Archive for March, 2016

Gizeh Records – GZH65DP – 18th March 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Gizeh is a label which grasps the importance of the complete music experience, and never stint on their packaging. Anyone purchasing their product can feel a tangible sense of both art and artefact, and Anders Brørby’s brooding instrumental album Nihil, the second release in their ‘Dark Peaks’ series, is no exception, housed as it is in a textured gatefold sleeve, the radiating sunburst design raised from the surface, in heavy black ink on a matt black background. How much more black could it be? The answer is none. None more black (the white paper band printed with the artist’s name and album title which much be carefully slid from around the sleeve in order to access the contents notwithstanding).

The presentation provides a suitable indication as to the sonic experience it prefaces. Nihil meaning nothing: while it has, since the 19th Century come to connote a negativity, manifesting as antagonism or rejection through the widespread use of ‘nihilism’, as of and in itself, ‘nihil’, or ‘nothing’ implies an absence. Neither positive or negative, it is simply a lack. Absolute nothing is beyond the human ken, and so, in artistic terms, there is a need to portray nothing, absence, with something. This is something Norwegian composer sound artist Brørby achieves on the 10 pieces which comprise Nihil.

Primarily, the music is dark. There is a lack, an absence, of light, at least in terms of the overall sensation it conveys. Melding elements of drone and dark ambient with more abrasive sounds, the compositions infer an experimental bent which places atmosphere at the fore. The structures are almost subliminal, the shapes of the pieces largely evolve and emerge briefly through a succession of transitions as layers of sound overlap and drift across one another almost imperceptibly. Musical forms are therefore explicitly absent, expounding the concept of ‘nihil’. As such, Nihil is a work of subtlety, and a work which bears theoretical scrutiny, and sits alongside works by the likes of Christian Fennesz, Lawrence English and Tim Hecker.

But subtlety should not be read as a synonym for sedate or tranquil. ‘As Dead as the Stars We Watched at Night’ builds layers of dark noise and swelling drones scrape and torment the nerves, and while the gentle, chimes which ripple in cadence through ‘I Will Always Disappoint You’ offer a glimmer of light and warmth, ‘Put Your Ear to the Ground’ finds a harsh, thick distorted fuzz that obliterates the smooths contrails beneath and accentuates the unrest on which Nihil is constructed. Likewise, the serrated howl of ‘From the Window Above the Lake’ conveys the anguish of emptiness.

Through the medium of sound, Brørby creates a conceptual absence (not to be confused with an absence of concept). There is no message, and Brørby does not purport to convey anything through the work beyond ‘raw atmospheres’. ‘Raw’ implies unfiltered, unadulterated, without manipulation nor refinement, and while this may not be strictly true of Anders Brørby’s creative process, Nihil nevertheless presents itself as being self-contained, a work about absence of anything but the sounds it contains. It is not ‘about’ Anders Brørby, and if anything, the artist is, if not completely absent, then very much hiding in the shadows.

It’s an album that’s best appreciated in a semi-present state, to allow the sounds to slowly wash over the senses and most of all, to be heard without preconceptions or expectations. Because nothing can often leave you with so much more than something.

Anders Brorby - Nihil

 

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=4022471447/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/transparent=true/

 

Anders Brørby Bandcamp

Christopher Nosnibor

I could easily harp at considerable length about the rather disappointing attendance, noting that Man of Moon have received considerable exposure in recent months by way of a tour supporting fellow Scots The Twilight Sad (which is how I came to discover them, and I note singer / guitarist Chris Bainbridge is sporting a Twlight Sad T-shirt on stage) and a fair bit of airplay on 6Music. Another city, another night, you might blame apathy, but Leeds on a Friday night is not apathetic, even when it’s Good Friday and the students are away and people are on holiday. And it would be wrong to blame the band. This is simply what happens when you’ve got Laetitia Sadier playing across town, as well as headline sets from Department M, Sunset Sons, The Stranglers, Lower Slaughter supported by Workin Man Noise Unit, and, perhaps not so much, Eddi Reader and almost a dozen other little gigs. The point is, it’s impossible to be everywhere at once, and being spoiled for choice can have its downsides.

No regrets about my choice, though. Arriving a song or two into Treeboy & Arc’s set, initially, I’m largely indifferent to what appears to be just another college band who’ve brought some daft mates along for the beer and some silly dancing. But they’ve got overtones of early Psychedelic Furs, not just on account of the tom-centric drumming, which works well, but the guitar sound, heavy on chorus with a brittle, metallic flangey sound. It all amounts to an above average take on indie with an 80s alt / post punk vibe (a dash of Echo & the Bunnymen, perhaps). They’re sounding good and by the end of the set, they’ve won me over.

Party Hardly won me over when I caught them in February, alongside Post war Glamour Girls supporting Fizzy Blood for their single launch. I’m not saying I’d rush out to buy their music or actively listen to it at home, but they’re a more than passable live act whose competent indie rock stylings hint at The Smiths filtered through a 90s reimagining. With positive vibes, good energy and some strong, hooky songs, there’s not a lot to dislike here.

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Party Hardly

With a brace of dates south of the border (Manchester and Leeds) ahead of a more extensive tour in support of their ‘Medicine’ EP, released in May, Man of Moon are still in the position of a band building a live following. But if they’re disappointed by the size of the crowd, they don’t show it, and the duo put on a proper show.

The set starts with a Suicide throb before exploding into thunderous krautrock at 100 decibels. Between songs, they’re pretty unassuming, but the duo have seemingly grown in confidence and sonic stature as they build some heavy psychedelic grooves – think Black Angels on speed –over the course of their 45-minute set.

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Man of Moon

Mikey Reid has an unusual drumming style: sitting with his stool raised high over his minimal drum kit – a combination of acoustic drums with a huge splash cymbal and an electronic pad set – he’s tight and plays with an attention to nuance, adding a strong dynamic to the songs. Meanwhile, Chris Bainbridge’s guitar style is geared toward a layered, textural sound that really defines Man of Moon.

Man of Moon 1

Man of Moon

Tonight’s outing reaffirms that they’re a quality act with an evolving repertoire. They’ve also clearly got the grit, the determination and the professionalism to build a substantial cult following. And when they do, I probably will say ‘I told you so’.

Neurot Recordings – 25th March 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Full of Hell seem to be an act who thrive on collaboration, with their previous release, Full of Hell and Merzbow proving to be a magnificent if suitably challenging meeting of strains of noise which nothing if not effective.

Small wonder that the press release states that Neurot Recordings is very pleased to announce a full-length collaborative debut between apocalyptic doom duo, The Body, and grindcore/harsh noise sculptors, Full Of Hell.

I’ll admit that the title is something of an obstacle for me, reminding me as it does of Hole – specifically, ‘Doll Parts’ but the squalling barrage of percussion-led noise that explodes in the first minute of the title track obliterates all reminders of anything other than the need to continue breathing. From the fury emerge grand, mangled powerchords that sweep against a sombre march.

The cover version of the Leonard Cohen track ‘The Butcher’ is a real standout track, despite being barely recognisable in this dank, droning mutant form. But yes, beneath the gut-churning 10bpm sludge and barely audible, Cohen’s barren lyrics are howled and snarled.

The drums are back to the fore on ‘Gerhorwilt’, a thunderous, speaker-smashing tumult combine with tortured, and torturous, vocalisations that barely sound human, while ‘Himmer and Holle’ is a wall of noise that’s the very definition of infernal. Incredibly, the punishment ratchets up another notch or three on the desolate grind of ‘Bottled Um’, and there’s a sense of relief on arriving at the end of the album’s final track, the blackest of black ‘The Little Death’.

That this album is beyond noisy – a pretty relentless assault from beginning to end – is only half the story. The individual tracks display a polarity of pace, with crawling dirges buttressing hundred-mile-an-hour thrashout frenzies. As such, the extremities of the dynamics of tempo are accentuated, hurling the listener back and forth while continually battering the senses with violent sound.

Is it a coincidence it’s being released on Good Friday? Probably not. It does, after all, feel like the sonic equivalent of crucifixion. Hellish, heavy and even more hellish, the day you hear this album is the day you will ache in ways you never imagined possible.

Body   Full of Hell

 

 

The Body & Full of Hell at Neurot Recordings

clang records – clang038

James Wells

‘Invisible’ finds Lars Graugaard and Kaisuke Matsuno putting ‘interactive computer’ and electric guitar through their paces, and it’s a very different proposition to Graugaard’s 2015 album ‘Venus’. Instead of carefully structured and sequenced pieces dispersed by moments of quiet delicacy, this album’s five tracks oftentimes make an all-out assault on the senses. The guitars are subject to some heavy processing, yielding treated sounds that sound more synthesised than played, while the computer-generated sounds are like no instrument of any kind.

Clicky, glitchy scratches of sound provide rhythms in lieu of conventional beats, and woozy, subsonic bass notes worm around amidst clustering bursts of noise and frayed static. Howling drones with serrated edges scrape deep sonic ravines, undulating and oscillating before crashing in sonic supernovae.

Having reviewed this album, penned for a late 2015 release, and having been subsequently unable to find details of it online, I’m perplexed. If / when it becomes available, I do recommend finding it and giving it a proper listen. Meanwhile, it seems to be truly invisible.

Quisling Records – 1st April 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

And so the story goes that originally formed by two frustrated drummers, Godzilla Black was the brainchild of two frustrated drummers who came together to release their eponymous debut in 2010. They evidently did something right, catching as they did the attention of Ginger Wildheart, which led to frontman John Cormack contributing vocals to Ginger’s Mutation project alongside members of Napalm Death, Cardiacs and The Fall, which was later released on Mike Patton’s Ipecac Records.

As you may reasonably expect from an ever-mutating project with a crazy wealth of crazy references, there’s a lot going on here. The album’s first track, ‘The Wizard of Ooze’ brings together elements of Kong’s skewed post-Shellac racket and the bombastic bravado and melodies of Faith No More. Sling in some bold brass and it’s one hell of a strange stew, but that’s exactly what Godzilla Black do – they melt multitudinous improbable bits and pieces together to forge something that’s weird, wonderful and rocks like a motherfucker.

The breezy vocal melodies of ‘Take Me To the Countryside’ may carry a psychedelic edge and hints of The Monkees in the verses, but they’re driven by a barrage of beefy guitars and a warped take on the overall production worthy of The Melvins. And we’re still only two tracks in.

‘First Class Flesh’ is just under two minutes of musical mania, the screaming abdabs finally defined sonically, and then there’s ‘Spaghetti’ which is a slice of wild desert blues, Sergio Leone and Queen of the Stone Age stranded together, in fucked up on peyote and hallucinating mirages of who the fuck knows what.

Most bands would have shot their load for ideas long before now, but the rockabilly math-rock frenzy of ‘Polydactyl’ and the crazed, full-throttle attack of ‘The Other White Meat’ (which even manages to reference The Blues Brothers in the midst of a bonkers explosion of raucous brass) more than abundantly show Godzilla Black are a band who are constantly on the brink of rupturing themselves lest they don’t give vent to their creative fermentations. In the hands of lesser artists, such an explosion of divergent musical bits and pieces would be a horrible mess, but they hold it together, and even the shorter tracks – there are a fair few that run between two and three minutes, and a couple are even more brief – sound fully formed, and even focused despite their everything all at once stylings.

It may take a few listens through to really get a proper handle on, but Press the Flesh is a classic example of what you might call ‘warped genius’. Restless, relentless and audacious as fuck, there really is never a dull moment.

Godzilla_Black_album_cover

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3855894031/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=3933977863/transparent=true/

Godzilla Black Online

Chelsea Wolfe recently announced the release of the Hypnos/Flame 7” scheduled for April 1st via Sargent House, following on from her most recent album Abyss. She has now unveiled a haunting new video for ‘Hypnos’.

The video features Wolfe draped in serpents, fading between fleeting moments of clarity and pixelated visual noise. Hypnos was the Greek god of sleep, and this video translates Wolfe’s distorted love song of the same name into a stark, black-and-white hallucination. The video was self-directed by Wolfe, shot and edited by Ben Chisholm with additional camera by Ricky Verrett.

‘Hypnos’ and ‘Flame’ are both spare and haunting; even at her quietest Wolfe’s music is full of tension and fierceness. ‘Hypnos’ is available to listen and share now via the Sargent House soundcloud. The two songs are available on a special deluxe version of Abyss, available digitally April 1st, which will also feature demo versions of album tracks ‘Grey Days’, ‘Simple Death’, and ‘Survive’. Pre-order is available for the 7” via Sargent House, and digitally via iTunes.

Meanwhile, you can watch the video here:

Chelsea Wolfe Online

 

She will also be undertaking an epic tour of the US in April with support from labelmates A Dead Forest Index. Dates are as follows:

Chelsea Wolfe 2016 Tour Dates

4/24 Las Vegas, NV – The Bunkhouse
4/25 Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom
4/26 Albuquerque, NM – Sister Bar
4/28 Austin, TX – Mohawk / Levitation Kick Off
4/29 Dallas, TX – Trees
4/30 McAllen, TX – Cine El Rey
5/02 Memphis, TN – The Hi-Tone
5/03 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade Heaven
5/04 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
5/06 Asbury Park, NJ – The Stone Pony
5/08 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
5/09 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
5/10 Boston, MA – The Royale
5/11 Providence, RI -  Fete Music Hall
5/12 Hamden, CT – The Space
5/13 Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
5/14 Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Small’s Theatre
5/16 Montreal, QB – Theatre Fairmount
5/17 Toronto, ON – The Opera House
5/19 Detroit, MI – El Club

5/20 Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
5/21 Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups
5/22 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock Social Club
5/24 Omaha, NE – Slowdown

5/25 Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre
5/26 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
5/28 Portland, OR – Revolution Hall
5/29 Vancouver, BC – Imperial
5/30 George, WA – Sasquatch Festival *
6/1 San Francisco, CA – The Chapel

6/2 San Francisco, CA – The Chapel
6/7 Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom

6/8 Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom

*Chelsea Wolfe only

This week will see the release of One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache, the fittingly-titled, collaborative debut between apocalyptic doom duo, The Body, and grindcore/harsh noise sculptors, Full of Hell. Set for release on March 25th via Neurot Recordings, the offering came together during last year’s massive North American trek which united both bands. Amidst the chaos of tour life, the two groups found time to record together at Machines With Magnets in Providence, Rhode Island. The session eventually culminated into the harrowing sounds found on One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache, which is ultimately an audio reflection of their surroundings and their inability to cope therein.

As a precursor to its release, they’ve unleashed the video accompaniment to second movement, “Fleshworks.” It’s suitably challenging, and you can watch it here: