Posts Tagged ‘Zero Gap’

Cruel Nature Records – 27th August 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Zero Gap is a truly international collaboration between Ryosuke Kiyasu (SETE STAR SEPT, Fushitsusha, Shrimp, etc, aka ‘the Japanese guy with a snare drum’ and WATTS (Lump Hammer, Plague Rider, Lovely Wife, aka that beardy growly bloke) that proves that location is a state of mind. Recorded oceans and continents apart, there is zero gap between the two artists as they hammer out half an hour of sonic abrasion, created, as the accompanying notes explain, ‘entirely from one snare and one delay drenched throat’.

If on the surface the snare drum seems to have only limited potential, then Kiyasu doesn’t exactly disprove that, in that it sounds like snare drum throughout. But the guy finds every conceivable way of rendering that snare sound, from rapidfire hits and rolls and crashes through clattering blasts and builds, and the still finds ways beyond conception to conjure yet more dynamic range from the simplest of instruments.

Against this clattering, clanking, thunderous barrage of percussion, Watts delivers a vocal performance that quite simply doesn’t sound like a vocal performance for the majority of the time. From a whispering moan like a distant solar wind, to a gurgling drain to a chthonic babble, he’s got immense range. It might not quite be Mike Patton’s Adult Themes for Voice, but it’s still impressive – and I mean eye-poppingly wide-ranging and weird. Best of all, Watts grasps when less is more, at times uttering little more than barely audible grunts and burps at long intervals. Snarling and snapping like a zombie in The Walking Dead, one moment, to barking like a rabid dog the next, Watts is wildly unpredictable, and often quite simply doesn’t sound human. Perhaps he isn’t. At times unsettling, unnerving, others plein scary, he snarls, growl and gargles his way through the creation of some quite strange soundscapes.

Everything works well in context, too: at times, Kiyasu pulls back on the battery of beats to taper down to some barely-there hints of sound, and the two not only are incredibly egalitarian in the distribution of the prominence of their contributions, but they seems to intuitively grasp the need for ebbs and flows, crescendos and decrescendos, making Zero Gap a work that feels like a journey, and even if it’s a journey without a clear end point, it’s a journey punctuated by events and variations.

Zero Gap isn’t abstract as such, but it does, most definitely stretch the boundaries of music. It is ultra-niche, but in the global village it’s the kind of thing that has the potential for significant cult reach. The pair deserve it: Zero Gap is far out in the best way. Crazy, inventive, innovative, not giving a fuck for convention, it’s an album that carves its own niche.

Captured as a single track spanning thirty-two minutes, it’s unusually a release that works best digitally (and dare I even say it, it, could make a nice CD), but then this is an unusual release. My advice? Dive into the dark stuff.

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Christopher Nosnibor

Having established the FEAST nights as a coming-together of noise and experimental artists during lockdown, burgeoning label NIM BRUT has expanded its remit for this fifth event, with a live show in front of a live audience in Derby on August 1st, and streaming the performances alongside contributions from those who were unable to make it to play live for tonight’s online stream – making this something of a hybrid gig, especially as the event also doubles as a listening party for the release of Zero Gap’s eponymous debut. A collaboration between Ryosuke Kiyasu (the ‘Japanese snare drum guy’) and (James) Watts, growler for Lump Hammer, Lovely Wife, and most of the other gnarly acts circulating the Newcastle scene, it’s out at the end of the month, and segments from the album got spun between acts.

Walking in (virtually), I’m assailed by a whole load of messy noise that bleeds into some disorientating ambience. This, of course, is very much designed to set the mood, and in no time, Lost Music Library are pumping out spurts of mustard gas ambience, accompanied by oddly animated and eerie images shot in a children’s playpark. With no children (for probably obvious reasons) the scenes take on an uncanny aspect, with empty swings swinging, while randomly struck xylophone notes plink and plonk in a childlike fashion. It’s inexplicably moving as slow-drawn strings taper down through the emptiness. It feels like something is wrong, something has been lost. It feels apocalyptic, but also rather close to home and the scenes of the last year or so. At the end, everything blurs and fades.

The collaborative set between Thurmond Grey and Aged is an interesting dark hip-hop effort that harks back to the turn of the millennium, but with the steady beats and keyed-up rapping duelling with some grating electronic noise. The vibe is very much ‘in the moment’, and first take – which works well, as it adds to the ‘live’ feel. Grey’s vocals at times sound like mark E Smith, and not everything is completely finished, and that’s ok: like the BBC radio sessions in the 80s, this is an ideal platform to test material out to a select audience.

Thurmond Grey

Thurmond Grey

OMNIBAEL have been using these sessions to evolve their sound. Tonight’s effort is a gnarly whorl of abrasion: Kester’s vocals are mangled by a rack of effects against a grinding tumult of nasty synth abrasion, and it hurts – so much anguish, so much pain – so much noise, so much Throbbing Gristle. When the guitar enters the mix, things reach a whole new level of punishing overload, and the volume is absolutely fucking brutal.

OMNIBAEL 3

OMNIBAEL

Leeds-based noisecore duo Rejection Ops, who’ve recently (lathe) cut a 10” with Territorial Gobbings were there on the night a week ago. With guitarist / synth player / shouter Colin Sutton wearing a wedding dress and veil – and finished off with a head torch, they’re quite a sight, and the duo’s frenetic grindy noise is simply explosive from the first bar. It’s a relentless barrage from beginning to end, and with the addition of electronics, this set is all about the noise. It hurts: there’s no form, no obvious structure, but a relentless assault driven by a nonstop drum attack. It’s free noise in full effect, and it’s not for wimps. And it builds to a sustained crescendo that’s pure tinnitus.

Rejection Ops 5

Rejection Ops

So where do you from there? To some harsh noise dialled in by a couple of clowns operating as …(something) ruined, of course. It’s impossible for me to review this objectively, but suffice it to say we were pretty happy with the latest instalment of anti-corporate power electronics that looks like featuring on an EP pretty soon, and those present seemed to dig it.

SR2

…(something) ruined

Neuro… No Neuro present a short, shifting wave of glitchronic ambience, before six-piece This Sun No More packed onto the tiny venue stage and slugged their guts out with a set of riff-slinging post-metal: expansive, textured, they really flex some muscle. The structures are tight, well-arranged, and well-executed. When they hit a crescendo, they really kick, and there are – occasionally – some howling vocals half-buried beneath the tempest. They may be very much school of 2004-2006 in nature, but they hold up in comparison to masters of the genre like Pelican. Live, they’re tight and super-solid, and they look like a band to see in the flesh.

Neuro

Neuro… No Neuro

Aged’s solo set in unnerving because it’s is so literally in your face: Nate Holdren’s bearded visage looms and while the drones and hums trickle and trail. He can be seen talking to himself, stroking his beard, immersed in either making of the sound… but as a work of droning ambience, it’s a solid one.

It’s a truly packed bill, and Error Control, – performing live from the venue – wearing a blindfold, delivers a set that, predictably, hurts. It’s a lot of mangled noise. And more than being ‘just’ noise, it’s bursts of noise. This somehow accentuates the impact, the harshness, and man, it’s fucking ugly. But it’s also ace. Blackcloudsummoner makes some dark noise accompanied by some eye-bleeding, brain popping visuals,

Gobbing

Blackcloudummoner

Headlining, Territorial Gobbing is mental as ever, as you’d expect from a guy who’s performed sets from bouncing a basketball and playing a cabinet he’d liberated from a skip on the way to the venue one time. Theo Gowans is truly the king of noise improv: he will render sound from quite literally any object, and will select that object on a whim. Clatters and clumps, bumps and wails, his is a world of off the wall mental shit, and the only thing you can predict it that it’ll be unpredictable and bewildering.

It all adds up to another great night of ultra-niche obscure noise: the amalgamation of life and dialled-in works well, and could well be a format that will be the shape of things for a good few months yet. It’s good to see things evolving in keeping with shifting rules and attitudes, and this is certainly an event that continues to accommodate all. Here’s looking forward to the next one.