Archive for September, 2018

7th September – Pelagic Records

Christopher Nosnibor

The absence of a question mark renders the album’s title a statement rather than a question. But there are no questions about Årabrot: 17 years and a substantial catalogue into their career, the Norwegian noise-rock act are still noisy, challenging, and kicking ass. But according to the blurb accompanying the release, ‘there is more than noise rock to Årabrot’s formula. “I’m interested in feelings, either the very silent or the extremely noisy”, band leader Kjetil Nernes comments. “I don’t care about what’s in between, the middle of the road isn’t my thing. The bible fits really well with that. I’m using it thematically all of the time.”

But mostly it’s noisy, and that’s a good thing. That said, Who Do You Love is very much an album of extremes – which is only fitting of a record that references transgressive French poet Comte de Lautréamont in its opening song, which crashes in with a heavy psych-hued riff – but the guitars are dominant and angular throughout. It’s loud, and it’s insistent. The guitars are choppy, the vocals whooping, sneery, and bathed in reverb and flange. It’s kinda punky, but equally kinda post punk, and kinda no-wave noisy.

With chunky, punky riffs carved out against solid rhythms that are by turn loping, square and stop/start, plus shouty vocals throughout the course of the album – ‘Warning’ is exemplary: Who Do You Love brings the attack in spadesful – but then again, it’s an album with textures, layers. ‘Sons and Daughters’ is a spacious country / shoegaze hybrid that’s both beautiful and captivating.

‘Pygmalion’ marks a real shift, it’s ethereal humming drones fittering like butterflies, while the sinewy ‘Simmerman’ is different again, a howling, roaring country rock stomp replete with anguished vocals that run ragged and pull Biblical anguish over devils and pain from the depths. It’s bold, theatrical, immense, but more importantly, it’s got a gut pull that’s emotionally engaging in its snarling delivery. Elsewhere ‘Look Daggers’ plunges deeper and darker still, meshing together the heavy grey nihilism and insistent throb of Killing Joke with a thicker, more metal delivery and hints of latter-day Swans in its insistent, throbbing groove that’s demolished in a roaring rage. ‘A Sacrifice’ begin with a heavy trudge, and the stop/start riffage, coupled with the blank monotone vocals – heavily treated – call to mind Foetus – before the buzzsaw riff breaks in after a couple of minutes.

Closer ‘Uniform of a Killer’ is all about the ebb and flow, the surge and fall, the climax and drop, not to mention all the drama. It again calls to mind later-day Swans, as well as pacing in hints of Bauhaus and myriad others, but compresses 15-minute builds to a minute or so, the track lasting only six and a half minutes. Never mind the length, check the density! ‘Uniform of a Killer’ certainly packs the density, and the intensity, too.

Who Do You Love is a BIG album. Not so much in duration (although it’s big enough) but in every other sense. It has depth, it has range. It has force. It has intensity, and it has tunes. Really, you couldn’t ask for more.

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Årabrot – Who Do You Love

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Aagoo Records / REV. Lab Records

21 September 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

French experimental drum outfit PILES are pitched as being for fans of Neu!, Can, Trans Am, Hanged Up, Beak>, Captain Beefheart, Edgar Varese, This Heat. Yes, a drum trio. Which means dominant percussion, and then some. But hen, anyone who’s heard Japanese drum combo Voordoms will appreciate the power of percussion as a dominant aspect.

And so we have eight tracks, all as drummy as it gets. Often, drums with little more than drones and hums or hovering feedback or sustain. But all the rhythmic complexity under the sun, with two or even three kits battering away.

‘Decay’ comes in hard and heavy, the opening bars reminiscent of The Fall’s ‘Muzoweri’s Daughter’ before dispersing in myriad directions as it spills directly into ‘Ulrick’. And just as things threaten to get tedious, ‘Mort aux cons’ brings new dimensions of noise, with sludgy bass and cacophonous guitar accentuating a different range of racket. And yes, it is a racket, albeit a good one.

‘Kraut and Piles’, the first of three nine-minuters eschews accessibility in favour of relentless pudding beats and extraneous noise. In venturing into industrial territory amidst shards of feedback, PILES reach a point at which the overall weight of the album tips into that of the heavy: there’s not much let-up here as the beats pound away at the cranium and the raring noise buidls to the sound of a jet engine preparing for take-off. The sonic barrage of ‘Kraut and ‘Piles’ is immediately followed by nine minutes of cut-up sound arrangements and drone with ‘Material in US’, which creates a very different atmosphere and casts the band in a very different light, even when things burst into an explosion of drums neat the end – because this about so much more than drumming. Then again, ‘Chambre d’echo;’ suddenly erupts from brooding atmospherics into a barrage of beats before shifting into a tinkling lullaby, which is pleasant if incongruous.

The final composition, ‘Marie’ is another nine-minute-plus beast that begins with ominous drones and conjures an unsettling darkness for its duration and culminates in a weird sort of semi-climax on a cymbal that rings out to eternity.

Una Volta confounds expectations and forges a strange mix of percussive assault and ambience, and does so through unexpected forms. It makes for an album that isn’t remotely what you might expect, but is all the better for it.

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PILES – Una Volta

Pak40 – Crusts

Posted: 14 September 2018 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , , ,

5th September 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

I practically creamed my pants over Pak40’s live show in York, just up the road from my house, a few months back. I didn’t exactly know what to make of them, which was part of the appeal – they didn’t conform to any one style, but they were bloody good. And noisy. And now they follow up their live show with a ‘live in the studio’ EP. ‘Crusts’ was recorded live in one take, and released it the same day, the band leaving it ‘warts and all for a loud, crunchy listening experience’. And that’s exactly wat they deliver. While this type of set-up rarely works for guitar-orientated bands, York-based Pak40 prove the exception to the rule with their crossover style and experimental, big-noise approach.

A spot of research reveals that the 7.5 cm Pak 40 (7,5 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 40) was ‘a German 75 millimetre anti-tank gun developed in 1939-1941 by Rheinmetall and used during the Second World War.’ It figures: these guys sound like total war, a sonic blitzkrieg from beginning to end.

The first track, ‘Sausage Roll,’ is formed around a rolling, strolling, trippy psychedelic bass groove. It’s hefty, trudging, a mid-temp sludge-soaked stoner workout that emerges from a hum of feedback before it slows and speeds and grunts and grinds and powers along with some packed-in density. And when it slows to early Melvins pace around two-thirds in, it truly sounds like a Sabbath 45 played at 33. If you’re expecting some laddish indie jauntiness based on the title, with its connotations of working-class / low salaried simple pleasures in Gregg’s and various greasy spoons, think again.

It bleeds through a humming sustain into the ten-minute centrepiece ‘Rain’, a slow-burner that begins quietly with more strolling bass and some understated percussion. It goes nowhere fast, and in fact doesn’t do anything fast, burrowing deeper into darker depths as the squirming bass worms its way down, down, down. Time stalls: it trickles along and tapers away.

‘Pyramid’ hits a powerful groove and also calls to mind That Fucking Tank, only gnarlier, messier, more downtuned and bottom-heavy. In concluding with a definite finale, the EP has the shape of an inverted bell-curve in terms of the listening experience, and Pak40’s obtuse approach is something to be admired.

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Pak40 - Crusts

Tim Hecker shares the haunting new song ‘Keyed Out’ from his incoming, ninth full-length Konoyo, which is incoming via kranky on 28th September. Listen to it here:

Regarding ‘Keyed Out’, Hecker says: "The track "Keyed out" was written over several sessions and finished in a small temple on the outskirts of Tokyo, during one of our initial trips to record with Motonori. I wanted to resist the temptation to overload the music with layers and layers of hyper-edited texture, as if that would help the piece become more whole. The song is a lonely deteriorating synth line, refracted and isolated, played alongside a small court music ensemble on what was a crisp birdsong-filled November morning."

Tim Hecker announces more live dates including rare ensemble appearances in the US. Forthcoming performances for Konoyo will feature traditional Japanese Gagaku musicians on the shō, ryuteki and hichiriki in synergy with his own explorations of noise, dissonance, and melody, creating a hybrid of electronic abstraction and otherworldly minimalism, alternately heavy and gentle. Full dates below.

Tim Hecker + The Konoyo Ensemble

2018

October 2 – Tokyo, WWWX (Japan)

October 6 – London, Barbican Centre (UK)
October 4 – Lisbon, Culturgest (Portugal)

October 7 – Krakow, Unsound Festival (Poland)

October 9 – Berlin, Funkhaus (Germany)

JUST ANNOUNCED FOR 2019

February 18 – New York, National Sawdust

February 19 – New York, National Sawdust

February 22 – Los Angeles, Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

February 23 – Los Angeles, Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery [http://tinyurl.com/ycas9n4l]

Konoyo ("the world over here") was largely recorded during several trips to Japan where he collaborated with members of the gagaku ensemble Tokyo Gakuso, in a temple on the outskirts of Tokyo. Inspired by conversations with a recently deceased friend about negative space and a sense of music’s increasingly banal density, Hecker found himself drawn towards restraint and elegance, while making music both collectively and alone.

As with the Icelandic choir he arranged on 2016’s Love Streams, the heights of Hecker’s talent emerge in his manipulation of source material, bending and burnishing it into fantastical new forms. Keening strings are stretched into surreal, pixelated mirages; woodwinds warble and dissipate as fractal whispers of spatial haze; sparse gestures of percussion are chopped, isolated, and eroded, like disembodied signals from the afterlife. Both in texture and intent, Konoyo conjures a somber, ceremonial mood, suffused with ritual and regret. Visions flutter and fade; dreams gleam and decay.

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Nottingham metallers Deathflux recently released the new video for their latest single ‘Consume’, whipped up by Very Metal Art’s Andy Pilkington. You can check it here:

Formed in early 2016, Deathflux is the brain child of Nottingham guitarist Tom Clarke. Having spent several years playing up and down the UK and abroad in previous outfits, Clarke formed Deathflux in an attempt to expand his sonic palette. Recruiting members of his earlier outfit, death metal mob Cacodaemonic and progressive metallers Akarusa Yami, Clarke got to work laying the ground work for the band’s debut album, Execrated.

A bold departure for all involved, Deathflux shows off a visceral double vocal approach, with vocalists Adam Jones and Patrick MacDonald violently barking over chunky riffs, intricate drum work and elastic solos. Tracks like ‘Transcend’ see the two engaging in a brutal sparring contest. Meanwhile, Clarke and second guitarist Tom Else play off each other effortlessly, with fluid trade offs between high speed guitar histrionics, creating a flattening wall of aural violence.

With a number of dates already under their belts, including a blistering debut show at Nottingham’s Rock City, and more on the boil, the band are keen take their blistering assault to crowds around the world. With a belting debut and the live skills to back it up, Deathflux are a band to get invested in.

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One Man Death Metal Operation Unveil Video For Suffer In Peace

One-man extreme metal outfit Immolate Moth have release a new video for the song ‘Suffer In Peace’ from new album Pain, which was released independently in August.

You can watch the video here:

“Carefully constructed brutal fucking chaos” is an accurate description of the sound of Immolated moth. The work of Thom Bleasdale, who had his career as an audio engineer cut short by serious illness, misdiagnosis and mistreatment that should have killed him, Immolated moth is hybrid death metal with an old school feel that is a real expression of true anger, pain, fear and trauma. It does not get any more real than this.

Following on from the well-received EP, “This Broken Mind”, Thom has been working on “Pain” for just over two years. And in response to the criticisms received, Thom re-recorded the full album several times until it was as good as he could make it with his available resources and limited physical capabilities. And although his health is now deteriorating rapidly, he does hope to get one more album recorded before he is too ill to play metal any more. He is working on it now.

Thom has been in various bands since the age of fourteen, ranging from synth-based rock to hardcore, blues, and even hip-hop. While training to be an audio engineer at Abbey Road studios, Thom became ill and was misdiagnosed and mistreated for nearly 3 years, during which time he technically should have died several times. Having miraculously survived, Thom has been left with the crippling illness, fibromyalgia (and various other conditions that come with it), which now keeps him almost entirely shut in.

Due to the illness he can’t play live or play with other musicians as he does not know from one day to the next how well he will be able to function. Many days he is unable to even play his guitar, so to have recorded this project is a huge achievement. All the instruments are real, and nothing was programmed.

Many death metal musicians write about pain, anger, fear, isolation and anxiety, but having nearly died 9 times, having been bed-ridden for 6 years, and now living in constant pain and almost total isolation, Thom is actually living what he writes, every single day.

It is a constant battle which he knows one day he will lose, but he keeps fighting anyway.

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