Posts Tagged ‘Noise’

Christopher Nosnibor

The Wonkystuff nights to date may have been a shade sporadic, but that’s what happens when the organisers have day-jobs and families, and more importantly, what they’ve lacked in regularity, they’ve more than compensated in quality, and that’s a major reason why there’s such a respectable turnout to a gig midweek, mid-January, in York. There’s also the warm, welcoming vibe: these nights may be musical showcases, but they’re also a coming together of an oddball community, where we’re all misfits together and it feels good and feels like home. Tonight’s lineup – as usual – demonstrates John Tuffen’s skill for bringing together acts who provide a satisfying balance of contrasting and complimentary.

It’s the Wonkystuff House Band – a collective rather than a fixed entity, tonight comprising Tuffen alongside Ash Sagar and Simon Higginbotham – who warm things up with a set consisting of permutational repetitions delivered by multiple vocals, delivered in a drab monotone over repetitive beats. Comparisons to Can, Cabaret Voltaire circa ‘Nag Nag Nag’, The Fall, Flying Lizards, Girls vs Boys, Young Marble Giants, and the more contemporary Moderate Rebels all make their way into my notes as I watch them crank out vintage synth and drum machine sounds. Cyclical bass motifs and whizzing diodes fill the air as they sit and twiddle knobs and read lyrics from clipboards and the historical leaps into the present for a while.

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Wonkystuff House Band

The start of TSR2’s set crackles and pops fireworks. The trio hunch over customised kit with wires all over to create warped undulations and machine gun fire beats that batter the speaker cones. The set builds into a dense, murky trudge. The second track, ‘What will be’ is more co-ordinated than the opener, and is solidly rhythmic, mechanoid and spacious, and metamorphosises into some kind of glam reimagining of Kraftwerk via DAF. Heavy echoes and tribal beats dominate the third track, and they very much find their groove at this point, at least for a spell, before the construction grows shaky despite solid foundations. Perhaps it’s the sheer ambition of layering up so much at once that’s difficult to keep together. Despite this, the discord and dissonance are part and parcel of an intriguing set.

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TSR2

Rovellasca takes the stage, quietly and understated and stands behind a bank of kit. So far, so standard. The set begins with deep, dark, rumblings, and very soon builds into something shatteringly immense. It’s dense. It’s loud, and fills the room like a thick, suffocating smog. The sound is thick, immersive. Time passes. Unexpectedly, elongated mid-range notes sound out and the underlying dense noise builds. I’m no longer listening: my entire body is enveloped. This is the effect of sonic force. Noise wall without the harsh. Burrs of static, pink and brown noise lurk in the immense billowing noise. The shifts are subtle, and gradual, but present over the course of the single, continuous half-hour piece. People start to become visibly uncomfortable after a time others vaguely bored. I’m loving it, and could listen all night. A slow fade to finish. The hush is deafening.

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Rovellasca

It’s a hard act to follow, but See Monstd – the new musical vehicle of radiofreemidwich’s Rob Hayler is an inspired choice, in that it represents something completely different that thus prevents any risk of comparison. There’s a lot going on here: the set starts with a sample, then breaks into what my notes describe as ‘wtf noise’. It subsequently settles into heavy harsh ambience, with dense, grating drones providing the body of sound, with swerves off trajectory for spells of audience participation, with a phone being passed around for members of the crowd to repeat lines from the sheets circulated prior to the set. This is one of those performances where you never know quite where it’s going to go, and is all the better for the element of unpredictability.

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See Monstd

And this, in a nutshell, is everything that’s great about the Wonkystuff nights.

December 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

Ukranian industrial duo Kadaitcha, consisting of Andrii Kozhukhar and Yurii Samson, have stepped up a gear for their fourth album, Tar, which follows Southern Phlegm, which landed at the front end of the summer. It’s an expansion in every sense: sonically, it displays a broad palette, from barely-there ripples and clicks to all-out abrasion, with all shades in between, and with seven compositions, ranging from six-and-a-half to thirteen-and-a-half minutes in duration, there’s a lot of room in which to venture on an exploratory journey.

They describe Tar as their ‘most powerful and elaborate release so far’, and there’s a story of sort behind it, as Andrii explains: ‘[The] album cover is based on the images from the series APEIRON by Ukrainian photographer Maxim Dondiuk. It’s a series of scanned photo negatives found in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, which were remaining there lost and forgotten for over 30 years, being subject to radiation and forces of nature.’

The images, available on Dondiuk’s site are disturbing and otherly, and convey more about the horror of the Chernobyl catastrophe, an event on an environmental, ecological and human scale that still has yet to be fully assimilated and that has, globally, faded into the annals of time for many, than any narrative possibly could. Tar effectively provides a soundtrack to these images. The album has a discernible arc, which transitions and deteriorates into ever-deepening distortion and degradation.

Spacious, atmospheric electronic layers hover and cascade around sparse desert guitar twangs at the start of the first piece, ‘Idle Hands’, before mangled chords, overdriven and distorted, crash in. ‘2219 F’ also collides soft, semi-ambient soundscaping with crushing wall-of-noise guitar screes that come on like an avalanche and devastate everything in their wake. And yet things are only just beginning to take shape: this only foreshadows the aural challenges yet to come. ‘Ran’ brings pulverizing rhythms and a deluge of noise in an altogether more overtly ‘rock’ format, and it’s got tension and attack, and marks the first stage in the transition toward a harrowing mess of ugly noise.

There aren’t many vocals on Tar, but when they do enter the mix, they’re gnarled, dehumanied, and monotone: ‘Eclipse’ is Throbbing Gristle on a doom-infused downer: a persistent electronic throb provides the backdrop to a detached, dehumanised vocal wheeze, and ‘Serpent Hill’s slithers into a murky morass of discomfiture. By the end – the overloading analogue explosion of the 13-minute ‘Yatagarasu’, which calls to mind Halogen-era Whitehouse – it’s a barrage of noise, a clunking beat and something semi-musical plinking away beneath a squall of white noise.

It hurts, but in a good way, a way that conveys damage, devastation, and environmental devastation.

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K - Tar

8th December 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

The latest release from Yorkshire electronic noisemaker Foldhead comes with no information whatsoever. It features just one track, and laser synth sounds throb space-age pulsations into a void of distant dissonance and static air. Voices crackle somewhere almost subliminally as if tapping into the mutter line. Change the frequency. Same distorted, indecipherable message. Feedback. Hiss. Hum. Extraneous noise. Sounds like something… something indefinable. Something out of range. Something unsettling. Not painful, but uncomfortable.

At the four-minute mark: silence. Is that a low rumble or simply the heating and my laptop’s hard-drive?

The ponderance is disrupted by crawling, squalling extranea, a mess of feedback and treble, scrapes and hovers, a mid-range, mid-air act of defiance against comfort. The volume takes unexpected incrementals steps upward, while the stuttering rotary stammerings continue to churn and thrum. Faint trills of treble and low-level grinds emerge and fade. The swell of sound is increasingly unsettling as the volume and density increases… ad then, an abrupt end. Silence. This is how it ends. This is how everything ends.

Now, I like noise, but am often relieved in some sense when it ends. Foldhead’s latest isn’t as oppressive as that, but there is a certain sense or the pressure lifting after the end. It may only be ten minutes in duration, but Radio Dust MAG 4.wav has a certain sonic intensity from which there is no escape until that silence descends.

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Foldhead - Dust

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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Viatuct

It has been a busy year of touring for Daughters, who have recently completed their third and final European dates in support of their highly-praised album, You Won’t Get What You Want (Ipecac Recordings), and today the Providence-born outfit debut their third video from the album, “Guest House."

“It is always exciting to see our work interpreted by talented artists.” says vocalist Alexis Marshall of the A.F. Cortes directed video. “We first became familiar with Andres through his wonderful photographic work. His ability to capture unique moments, often missed by other photographers, is uncanny and we trusted him to be able to bring the same abilities as a director.”

The “Guest House” visual continues Daughters’ exploration into the world of black and white photography and film. Both of the band’s previously released videos from You Won’t Get What You Want, “City Song” and “Less Sex”, used the colour-free palette to create stunning, thought-provoking pieces that played on darkness and light, shadows and shading, to impart a variety of emotions, from the magic of a flickering candle to the beauty of the human form, and with “Guest House,” the exploration of psychological tension.

The “Guest House” video arrives as the band launches a three-week North American tour, kicking off the trek this Saturday with a sold out show at Neumos in Seattle. The tour follows two prior sold out North American outings, a nod to the band’s riveting, and intimate, live performances.

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Daughters North American tour dates:

November 30 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos # [SOLD OUT]
December 1 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre *⁣⁣⁣
December 2 – Portland, OR @ Bossanova Ballroom *%⁣⁣⁣
December 4 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore ^%
December 5 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Belasco Theater +⁣⁣⁣
December 6 – San Diego, CA @ SOMA Sidestage ^ ⁣⁣⁣
December 7 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Pressroom ^⁣⁣⁣
December 8 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater ^⁣⁣⁣
December 10 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s ^⁣⁣⁣
December 11 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s ^⁣⁣⁣
December 13 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn ^⁣⁣⁣
December 14 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade ^⁣⁣⁣
December 15 – Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum ^⁣⁣⁣
December 17 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle ^⁣⁣⁣
December 18 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club ^⁣⁣⁣%
December 19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel ^⁣⁣⁣
December 20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer ^⁣⁣⁣
December 21 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club ^⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
^ w/ HEALTH, Show Me The Body
+ w/ Protomartyr, Show Me The Body
# w/ Lingua Ignota
* w/ Lingua Ignota, Haunted Horses
% Merch bundles not available

Christopher Nosnibor

Something is wrong. Seriously wrong. That there is something wrong with the enigmatic Paul T, who is Foldhead, almost goes without saying: purveyor of strange and dark noise via means of a multitude of collaborative projects as well as solo channels, creator of avant-garde visual art, William Burroughs nut, and passionate left-winger, Paul is the epitome of the fringe polyartist who confuses and confounds all things mainstream and normal. These are all the reasons I like the guy and so enjoy collaborating with him whenever we manage to get our shit together. He gets it: he lives and breathes cult and outsiderdom, and has both the means and the theoretical comprehension. Which in the eyes of the many, makes him wrong. He doesn’t fit and neither does his work, and his output as Foldhead is just so much noise to most ears.

The (at least on the surface) inexplicably-titled liveBufferingErrorTimeout (I must clean the black milk with brine) is typical, and wrong on every level. This is electronica that splinters the peripheral senses. It focuses on frequencies that register almost subliminally and that hurt the most, with shards of brain-piercing treble attacking from all sides while whipping whorls of stuttering circuit crackling prod the synapses like needles. It’s a relentless crackle, pop, hiss and fizz, like a firework display exploding inside your cranium exploding over a wash of analogue froth.

Recorded on 19 October 2019, the recording features just the one piece – ‘rotting tongue: nature’s assailed’. It’s as brutal as whiplash and ten times more likely to induce tinnitus, and with a running time of only 7’34” – instead of a classically Burroughsian 23’ that’s more typical, something is very wrong indeed. The noise stops abruptly, and in the absence of information accompanying the release itself, the clue, I suspect, is in the title.

Equipment malfunction or failure is one those things that plagues the recording artist in the digital age. And so what was mapped out to be an hour of racket has emerged as a mere seven minutes; a single rather than an album. But what it lacks in duration, it makes up in pian infliction. A short, sharp shock indeed.

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Foldhead - Buffering error