Posts Tagged ‘Harsh Noise’

The coming together of Paul ‘Zanntone’ Tone and Christopher Nosnibor was a random one which more or less encapsulates their approach to creativity: Paul placed ashout-out on FaceBook for recommendations for a vocalist for his upcoming Foldhead show in Leeds, and Nosnibor’s name was thrown into the hat after a number of previous collaborations with noise artists that had seen his ‘Rage Monologues’ project move from the spoken word scene into the realm of ‘music’.

What happened at that show occurred more by accident than design, but it worked – and so …(something) ruined was born.

Subsequent live shows saw them really hitting their stride – and the pain threshold in terms of volume and intensity – before the COVID apocalypse swept the globe, putting paid plans for further shows and a planned live studio recording.

Nevertherless, live-stream gigs catering to fans of electronic / experimental / noise has continued to give them a platform, and they’ve continued to develop their sound and visuals. Following their brief but brutal turn at FEAST #2 hosted by Nim_Brut, they’ve released their track, ‘Life is too Short’ as a videosingle.

Of the track, Nosnibor says “the lyrics were inspired by conversations I’d been having with a friend of mine, about how if one thing the pandemic had brought into sharp relief was that life’s too short. You never know when your time’s going to be up, and we waste so much of the time we have expending energy stressing over work and trivial shit. No-one ever lay on their deathbed saying ‘I wish I’d spent more time in pointless meetings, or watching trash TV’. I recorded the vocals in one take – first take – and send the file over to Paul, who mangled them beautifully, in a way that conveys all the anxiety, anguish and rage beyond the words themselves”.

Watch the video here:

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Life is too short still

No Part of It – 23rd September 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Slowly raising a hand – dripping in coagulated blood and thick, sticky semen – from the swampy morass of angled noise that’s entirely representative of the contemporary dark electronic scene, where dark ambient, power electronics, and harsh noise sim in the same sewers, Sterile Garden emerge with Acidiosis. It’s pitched as ‘harsh noise for junk metal, tape recorder, and 4 track;, and while Sterile Garden is an open-ended project with countless contributors featuring on their 40+ releases in the 14 years since their inception, on this occasion, Sterile Garden is simply Jacob DeRaadt.

Acidosis contain six untitled, numbered tracks, and they segue together to create on enormous lump of churning industrial noise. Howling whines of nose like jet engines firing up power full-throttle into barrelling blasts of abrasion.

Without lyrics or any form of vocal element apart from the muffled dialogue on ‘Acidosis 6’, the album is purely a host of permutations of mangled noise which feature here with every shade of feedback and distortion imaginable assailing thee listener’s tenderised eardrums. Metallic clattering, and scrapes, barks and yelps and screeching screeds or nail-scraping, eye-watering blurting screeds or treble dominate.

So much of this overloading, speaker-splitting noise is so above the limits, so over the regular limits of noise, it hurts. But while suffering, enduring, or perhaps enjoying the pain, if you can get past the tinnitus-inducing shards of treble, the walls of mid-range that blast away like hurricane, there is detail, there is textural depth. No doubt many would disagree, and this s very much one for the noise aficionados: there no tunes, no structures, just screaming feedback and howls of painful noise, whistling feedback and manged, cacophonous noise hurtling headlong toward the crusher. Alright, it is just needless, neverending noise, but as I was out and about earlier, on a supposedly ‘quiet’ walk, I became attuned to an endless stream of noise ranging from conversations to car engines. Peace and quiet is a myth – although Acidosis is not so much anti-ambient as anti -sanity, a relentless bewildering squall of horrible noise.

Acidiosis is all the metallic clanks and scrapes. With Acidiosis, Sterile Garden have landed the crusher that will crush your soul. It’s a gut-churning, skull-compressing horrorshow that hurts, physically and psychologically – meaning a job well done.

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Noisequanoise – 29th January 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

What is this? A reimagined soundtrack to the popular TV series? Having not watched it (I know, it’s a crime against contemporary popular culture) I’ve no idea if the track titles are references.

What I do know is that we’re in ultra-niche ultra-noise territory here: Breaking Bad was recorded on a CD-R data discs and released on an initial run of CDs limited to 8. Yes, 8. There’s a wilful obscurantism that’s part and parcel of the scene that this clearly taps into, and it was ever thus going back to the dawn of Come Organisaton. There’s a whole essay, or even a book, in the culture surrounding the scene, and that isn’t for now, but despite what all this may seem to imply about elitism and snobbery in the noise scene, my personal experience has to date presented many accommodating, pleasant, self-effacing and self-aware, not to mention shy and reasonable people. It;s often the case that extreme art is not a reflection of the individual, but simply an outlet.

The opening bars of the album’s first piece, ‘Hidden Threat’, are serene, almost ambient, and pleasant. Then in a turn it explodes and what sounds at first like a metal bucket full of stones and a broken contact mic being kicked down the stairs in a tower block swiftly becomes a relentless swirl of churning metallic distortion, a churning blast of noise that’s excruciating. There are some vocals in there, too: pained shouting, submerged by a blistering wall of distortion. It’s so intense as to make five and a half minutes feel like fifteen.

Shifting into lower frequencies and breaking the wall with the occasional stutter, ‘Stream of Thoughts’ conjures the anguish I feel around 10am on most mornings in the office – and while the actual office experience is rapidly receding into the distance as a memory, the recollection of the trauma of operating in such surroundings will likely never fade.

And so it is that ‘My Future Plans’ is a shrieking mess of treble that jolts and jars, and with so much turbulent top-end, ‘More Pain!’ is appropriately titled as a trudging, sawing sound grinds back and forth against a squall of shrieking ballistic white noise. And it just keeps on going. There is absolutely no fucking respite. The spaces between the tracks are negligible, and while the tracks are all different, when presented with so much relentless blasting noise, the effect is ultimately flattening. That doesn’t mean it’s numbing or desensitising: six or seven tracks in, it’s still as eye-wateringly assaultive as in the opening minutes – but you’re just too battered and beaten to really differentiate one shade of overloading distortion from another, in much the same way as standing in a DIY store comparing paints. Only this is like comparing paint while having an electric drill penetrating each ear.

That said, the final track ‘The Way No Nowhere’ does seem to increase the intensity, with more rapid circulations of the internal rhythms that manifest within the whorl of noise.

It’s draining, and hard work: but then, it’s not intended as easy listening and one of the primary purposes of harsh noise and power electronics is a sonic catharsis, and one which often involves an element of self-flagellation. And in terms of delivering against objective, Breaking Bad brings it.

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Noisequanoise – 1st January 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Avery Vickers, aka Death Circuit, isn’t exactly big on info, biographical or otherwise. But, specialising in Harsh Noise, Harsh Noise Wall, and Power Electronics, what more do you really need? Personality and politics are less than nothing in the face of instrumental annihilation.

An Easy Passage To The Mind is noted as having been ‘recorded on 90 minutes of cassette tape’. The medium naturally brings a roughing, analogue feel to the two tracks, which are both exactly 15:03 in duration (90 minutes would surely be unbearable even for the biggest fan of this).

What’s impressive is just how much sound is packed into those thin, magnetic-coated strips. It’s not just harsh, noisy, and a wall – that’s pretty much a given. But the density is more than a towering slab of basalt. And of course, there are no smooth edges here: this is pure abrasion.

On ‘1’, there’s an emphasis on the lower mid-ranges, meaning the experience isn’t cranium-splittingly abrasive. The sound is very much like a cross between a helicopter at close range, and a washing machine on a spin cycle, the air torn and shredded, and rent damaged by the obliterative volume. After the initial shock of the sheer sonic force, it becomes immersive. Not pleasant, but not unpleasant.

The same cannot be said of ‘2’, which may or may not be the same track cranked up to a level of overloading distortion and does actually hurt and fuck with your head even more than your speakers. It simply sounds broken. And after a quarter of an hour of it, I certainly am. It’s torture by frequency, and it’ torture by volume, and it’s torture by dissonant vibration. I feel jaw clenching involuntarily as every muscle in my body get gradually more tense. It’s horrible. And exactly as intended. Harsh.

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Basement Corner Emissions – 28th June 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

For those outside Ukraine, and those who aren’t completely immersed in the most underground of underground scenes, few are probably aware of the fact there’s some seriously good noise shit emerging from Ukraine right now. And Portland, Oregon, US, too, on the strength of this release.

This split release between Vitauct and Crepuscular Entity is a monster, and one which demonstrates that there’s contrast and variety within the field.

The first piece is a seven-minute wall of noise courtesy of Crepuscular Entity. There may or may not be distorted vocals screaming low in the mix of a blistering white-noise assault. Noise doesn’t get much harsher than this, and everything is total overload. But there is texture, if you listen closely enough – if you can bear to. It’s not quite Harsh Noise wall, but it is a wall of harsh noise.

Vitauct’s ‘The Abominable Mechanism’ combines squelchy electronics with a thumping mechanical rhythm, the sound of a machine grinding and pumping away. Distortion and decay enter the equation at some point, upping the intensity. In context, however, Vitauct’s contributions are light relief against the relentlessly abrasive shards of pain served up by Crepuscular Entity: ‘Electrical Storm in an Electrical Storm’ is full-treble pain, an amorphous mass of blistering hiss with no discernible form, while Vitauct offers up something more overtly rhythmic. There is nothing accessible, or easy, or comfortable about any of this. It hurts, and it punishes and it fucks with your head. This is exactly what it should do and in the field of power electronics, it’s more sonically articulate than most.

The final track, ‘Madhouse’ is something else altogether: distorted vocals and maniacal laugher against a backdrop of fizzing electrodes and scraping noise. It’s deranged, and it hurts, but this is everything that’s good about it.

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