Atmospherical Asphyxiation

Nice package of goodments received from The Slightly Off Kilter Label, a Brighton-based label doing everything possible to inject healthy amounts of amplified improvised guitar noise and such into our decaying realm. Adam Lygo collaborates with Euphonious Murmur Blend for a new release called Earth (sok024) – no relation to the American guitar band who have released many an album for Southern Lord. Instead Lygo and chums strive to recreate in sound the various physical atmospheres surrounding our Mother Globe as it spins in space. Long episodes of drifty and understated noise pour from their Roland amps, but overall this is no less deliciously turgid than the Liquid Metal Flesh two-CD sprawl (noted in TSP #16).

While we’re maintaining the links with our home planet, there’s The Surly Bonds of Earth (SOK016), a joint axe-noise project featuring Lygo, Paul Morgan (SOK label boss), with members of Yeborobo and Towering Breaker. Bravely issued as a single hour-long track, ‘Neon Tolex’, this growling monster was recorded direct to tape in a studio with three guitars and a drum kit; it’s an ungodly racket of sheer ugly delight which only slightly disappoints when the quartet attempt to do something slightly more “musical”. When it stays in the zones of the primitive and the brutish, it can do no wrong for me. Decorated with images of aerial warfare and limited to 50 copies, this is recommended to all readers who currently feel as though they should stick their heads in a boiling bucket of thick grease. This will save you the bother.

Euphonious Murmur Blend have also made a split CDR with Lygo, and it’s housed in a slab of jet-black card whose external proximities are harshly textured in some way. To get to the record is like peeling the skin from a charred giant lizard. The four tracks of Euphonious Murmur Blend, including ‘Myopia At The Point of Death’ and ‘Failing Respiration’, reveal them to be emerging talents in the field of a certain strain of brooding, claustrophobic synth-doom intensity for which I personally have a lot of time. Twelve minutes of ‘Engram’ puts them in the same league of some of the small group of disaffected American noise-brutes who issue their stern-faced analogue atrocities on the Phaserprone label. Lygo has two long tracks, the better to express the nature of his ‘Liquid Mirror’ in two parts. These guitar loops from 2007 do indeed suggest the very process of a mirror’s creation, as pure mercury is spilled across the awaiting vitrinous sheet. With his amps turned up to 11 (and his FX pedals issuing thin clouds of smoke as their circuits implode), not a single moment of play-time is left unclogged with thick, syrupy noise; these recordings show Lygo’s remorseless torture-meister side to great effect.

Also in the pack, the sixth issue of Honest Music for Dishonest Times magazine, a periodical issued under the Slightly Off Kilter imprint. As well as news and record reviews, there’s no small amount of attention directed towards the Manchester underground noise scene, including an interview with A Middle Sex. Purchase of the mag nets you a copy of Safe Isolation (sok028), a CDR comp with new music from The Vitamin B12, Ian Baxter, Adam Lygo, Bearhead, and Best Left Alone Ensemble.