Posts Tagged ‘The Body’

Thrill Jockey – 29th January 2021

The sheer quantity of The Body’s output – often produced collaboratively – is little short of astounding, and since coming together some 20 years ago the duo comprising Lee Buford and Chip King have forged a reputation as masters of noise, and, as their biography attests, they’ve ‘consistently challenged assumptions and defied categorisation, redefining what it means to be a heavy band’.

There is no question that I’ve Seen All I Need To See is heavy: listening to it from beginning to end truly hurts.

It opens with crushing slabs of overloading distortion backing a monotone spoken-word piece. The juxtaposition of the blank, the bland, and the speaker-breaking blasts of bass-orientated menace is difficult to process, and that’s before the screaming demon-howl vocal begins howling its hellish anguish into the dense, murky mix of thunderous drums and bowel-churning low-end. ‘Lament’ is six minutes of pure heavyweight abrasion that tears at the guts and the soul. Every cymbal crash is an explosion, the decay distorted by deep bass detonations as it trudges doomily onwards – or down. Down. Down.

Everything simply splinters and overloads on the punishing single release, ‘Tied Up and Locked In’, which is a whole next level of heavy shit, a churning mess of overloading noise that’s utterly brain-pulping.

If the prospect of a slower song, which arrives as the album’s third track, Eschatological Imperative’, suggests some kind of respite, you’re going to be disappointed: slower, yes, but it’s a dirgy wall of noise that’s nothing short of overloading in every sense. It’s horrible, painful, but utterly perfect in fulfilling its purpose: there is no respite here, only pain, and pain articulated through brutal sound. ‘Pain of Knowing’ is so dense and dark, you could almost cry in the hope of a return to ignorance. A low, griding bass feedback noter hangs for eternity and rings a resonating pain, and the reminder that knowledge isn’t power, it’s pain.

The pain continues with the percussion-dominated slow throb of ‘The City is Shelled’, which crawls, bloodied, into the kind of territory occupied by Swans circa 1984, with crushingly slow beats and a buzzing bass that practically swallows everything. It’s a trajectory continued by on ‘They Are Coming’, a stop/start piece that’s utterly obliterative. The stops leave you hanging: the starts make your stomach lurch. There isn’t a moment’s respite or implicit kindness here. Hearing the bass drum downtune into a morass of distorted extranea and broken bass on ‘The handle The Blade’ is a most physical experience, and one that’s only heighted by the final track, ‘The Path of Failure’ which is utterly crushing. It’s megalithically, slow, and heavy, but also dark and punishing, and when noise does erupt on ‘The Path of Failure’ it does wo with a slow, brutal violence

I’ve Seen All I Need To See is a distillation of pain, and the production and mastering takes that to the max, to the point that I repeatedly found myself checking my connections and cables and even my speakers. In short, I’ve Seen All I Need To See is as brutal as anything you’ll hear, a work of total sonic overload.

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Ahead of the release of their towering new album I’ve Seen All I Need To See at the end of the month, The Body have shared a pummelling new single ‘Tied Up and Locked In’.

Capturing the astounding weight of the duo’s live sound in stunning detail, ‘Tied Up and Locked In’ is as bludgeoning and corrosive as it is ecstatic – a cathartic eruption of energy delivered with incisive measure.

I’ve Seen All I Need To See demonstrates not only The Body’s fearless spirit and vicious edge, but their intellectual musical heft through its explorations of distorted sound and the power of distorted sounds’ interplay. Composer Roger Johnson said “Noise is power, but is generally represented as negative, chaotic, dangerous, violent, when it comes… from those marginalized from power. Noise is also an expression of freedom, a ‘liberation of sound.’” The Body are sound liberators capable of mining and extracting remarkable details from the most manipulated and distorted sound sources.

I’ve Seen All I Need To See is a groundbreaking work and an ecstatic listen, whether seen as a testament to catharsis in oblivion, an opus of inexorable dread or a wholly liberating adventure.

Listen to The Body’s I’ve Seen All I Need To See single ‘Tied Up and Locked In’ here:

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Adult Swim Singles – 30th January 2020

Christopher Nosnbor

This one’s crashed in seemingly from nowhere, and because it’s Uniform, it crashes in hard. Promising ‘the first taste of a new song cycle that doubles down on the most immediate aspects of the band’s sound’, with shouter Michael Berdan drawing attention to the more dance-orientated sound.

And indeed, the groove is built around a steady, monotonous dance beat, but it’s a pounding industrial beat that’s reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails. The opening segment is sparse, with just drum and vocal and some rumbling extranea forging a claustrophobic tension before everything goes classic Uniform with a pulverizing blast of noise that packs all the abrasion, and again, it’s Broken era NIN that comes to mind as they meld devastating guitars to live drums hammering out mechanoid rhythms.

The guitar overdrives to the point of overload, and Berdan’s anguished holler channels the anger and anxiety of the song’s focus: “‘Awakening’ is about the daily frustrations of a complacent existence in late capitalism. Some might take it as a protest song. However, it’s to be implied that waking up with a deep seeded anger is something that happens every day. We know they are mad, but we don’t know if anything will ever change.”

If any band articulates the suffering that living in the present can create: the relentless sense of pounding your head against a wall, screaming into a void, unheard, in the face of endless idiocy and sheer brutality at the hands of a capitalism so hard that it’s beyond dehumanising. Compassion and care are out of the window as everyone is too busy climbing over everyone else just to survive, while the upper echelons crow and don’t even bother to pretend to cast down their crumbs as the pretence of any trickle-down is erased in the face of sheer greed. The power elites hold all of the power, and the rest of us are powerless to effect change.

And so many of the oppressed are oblivious to all of this, enabling the oppressors in supporting the Trumps and the Johnsons, feeding the instruments of their own oppression while failing to see the cycle they’re perpetuating, blind to the fact that ‘foreigners’ aren’t ‘stealing’ their jobs and sapping the welfare coffers, but propping up a fragile boom and bust economy by doing the minimum wage, zero-hours, per-delivery drudge jobs no-one else will take.

You wake up, burning with incendiary rage that these people, who’ve swallowed the propaganda wholesale wont; fucking wake up, and you veer wildly between wanting to kill ‘em all and killing yourself, but in the end you do neither because you’ve got bills to pay and mouths to feed so you do nothing but work and hate yourself for it until you crash out to suffer nightmares and then rinse and repeat the next day and the next.

That sense of confinement, of futility, and endless fury, that is what Uniform distil into four minutes of pounding anger.

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Uniform - Awakening

Uniform US Live Dates (all w/ The Body):

March 01: Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge

March 02: Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret

March 03: Seattle, WA – Laser Dome at the Pacific Science Center

March 05: San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop

March 06: Los Angeles, CA – Zebulon

March 07: Las Vegas, NV – Bunkhouse Saloon

March 08: Phoenix, AZ – The Rebel Lounge

March 10: San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger

March 11: Dallas, TX – Three Links Deep Ellum

March 12: New Orleans – Gasa Gasa

March 13: Atlanta, GA – Food Court

March 14: Durham, NC – The Pinhook

March 15: Washington, DC – Black Cat

March 16: Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle

March 18: Brooklyn, NY – Market Hotel

March 19: Somerville, MA – Once Ballroom

March 20: Providence, RI – Columbus Theatre

March 21: Montreal, QC – La Vitrola

March 22: Toronto, ON – The Garrison

March 24: Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle

March 25: Minneapolis, MN – Turf Club

June 05 – 07: Austin, TX – Oblivion Access

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.

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The Body & Full of Hell at Neurot Recordings

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: