Abject Nihilism and more Fun

Nihilist Assault Group (GNARLED FOREST GF29) is a cassette from a noise supergroup of sorts, featuring Richard Rupenus (The New Blockaders), Michael Gillham and Mark Durgan (Putrefier) from the UK wing, while Stan Reed and Wm Rage (Blue Sabbath Black Cheer) represent the American strand of this aggressive genre. While the track titles offer us four varieties of ‘nothingness’ expressed in various languages, the cover artworks depict the team as a trio of 19th-century scientists whose highly specialist work (peering into a three-pronged microscope) appears completely futile in this context. On the tape you will find a seething, hostile entity that worms its way out from your beatbox like a particularly repellent centipede with a poisonous bite. 100 copies of this horrific C20, already deleted.

Speaking of supergroups but in a quite different vein, here’s a release by SLW. Four of our favourite minimal-improv creators (Burkhard Beins, Lucio Capece, Rhodri Davies and Toshimaru Nakamura) bump their heads together in non-obtrusive and subtly disarming ways for 45 minutes on Fifteen Point Nine Grams (ORGANISED MUSIC FROM THESSALONIKI #07), which was recorded at a French music festival in 2007. The album is largely an unbroken chain of extended textures which gradually evolve and change positions, revealing details of metal, string and plastic from the various instruments (percussion, harp, saxophones, electronics), with the four players getting quite rowdy around the midway point. It’s a form of subdued noise, full of presence and purpose, and much constrained emotion. A performance of this quality ought to have appeared on the Erstwhile label. Many thanks to Kostis for sending this.

From Australia, Shane Fahey is doing some quite nice things by combining analogue synths with field recordings, some of which have been taken from forest environs. Heavy on atmosphere, The Slated Pines (ENDGAME RECORDS END022) does something to reveal the darker side of nature, as though the Old Man of the Forest is bearing a blank unblinking countenance, which could be interpreted in many ways. Fahey comes to us with a credible lineage, as leader of the experimental 1980s band The Makers of the Dead Travel Fast.

Four lively bursts of digital energised splintery silver birdseed is scattered liberally by Spruit, using a turntable and mixing desk crossed with live electronics. This Dutch experimenter performs as though his trousers were under attack by an entire colony of angry soldier ants. On / Off contains only four short tracks, but true to his method he packs an excess of digital data into each second, an approach which he was been honing for some years now in an effort to comes to terms with the ‘information overload’ which appears to be the lot of modern man. Those who saw him play live in Amsterdam and Nijmegen last year were presumably quite overwhelmed by his streamed onslaught of densely collaged and layered abstract noise. The cover artworks here give you some impression of the mental strain which might be induced from struggling to absorb Spruit’s abundance of ideas.

When they first buy a laptop and sampler set-up and start manipulating sounds, some players are like children with a new box of crayons – they can’t wait to use every colour in the box. Not so Bionulor, a Polish player named Sebastian Banasczyk who sent in his solo CDR (ETA-CD 017). His method is to work with only one sample per track, exploring it through extensive processing in a process he describes as ‘100% sound recycling’, while characterising his work as ‘experimental electroacoustic ambient’. I have to admire the discipline of his working approach, which does impose quite strict limitations on the results, and at its best this considered album is full of a sad, mysterious and echoey space which leaves a lot of room for the listener. Elsewhere, it’s impressive the rich variety he wrings from a few seconds of sampled music, and he is never afraid of stating and restating one particular sound event or musical micro-phrase which pleases him. A very strong alternative to much of the careless patchwork-music one hears in this genre. Admittedly, using old alchemical engravings on the cover to say something about musique concrète is a bit of a gaffe, but it’s one I too am guilty of.

A rum ‘un sent from Spain on the Berlin Tochnit Aleph label, which appears to be Mattin perhaps with Tim [sic] Goldie. It’s called Deflag Haemorrhage / Haien Kontra (TOCHNIT ALEPH 088) and is credited to Humiliated, and if you can open the silver bag you’re greeted with two printed cards full of information and images that make no sense, apart from a dense printed text which begins ‘I am only horror to myself’ and continues down a path of self-loathing and imagery of deathly decay using stark writing in the style of Michael Gira. Spin the 20-minute CD to hear a grotesque parody of experimental techno noise of some sort, packed with overlaid and shattered beats and sprawling electric hateful noise, over which we hear an agonised, painful multi-tracked groaning and yelping vocal from someone who sounds like they’re being flayed alive.

These above arrived around early September 2009 in the Sproj-Box.

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