Klinikal Skum, Negativ Psykotelepathi Surveillanz, Chondritic Sound, cassette CH-287 (2013)
I’m not sure that the cassette format is really all that suited to recreating the sound and ambience of old-school industrial music from the days when the likes of Throbbing Gristle, Nurse with Wound and SPK among others dominated the scene. Oh of course, TG did issue about 100 sets of 20 cassettes each, of which the vast majority were apparently sold to Japanese customers. Klinikal Skum’s name alludes perhaps to SPK’s deliberate misspellings and various acronyms for their title (among them Surgikal Penis Klinik and Sozialistische Patienten Kollektiv); the cassette’s title might refer to the darker visions of Psychic TV and the artwork to the more unsanitary cubicles and rooms of psychiatric hospitals whose photographs graced covers of a number of industrial music recordings of the 1980s.
Sound quality issues aside, the actual music on the tape captures the paranoia and hellish dystopian visions of 1980s industrial: bursts of electrical static, stuttery drone, brain-scouring plumes of noise texture, Black-and-Decker surgical trepanning drills and aeroplane drone among other noisy, buzzing texture layers can be found here. KS man Ryan Oppermann allows the sounds to range freely where they will and imposes no external structure or other restraint – or none that I can discern anyway though I know the music is in fact divided into six tracks – upon the music other than what is dictated by the cassette format. The result is a work of shifting moods and atmosphere that explores sound, texture and space. We can expect that the music will be violent and searing in parts, and highly confrontational, and there is plenty of such music here but there are also moments where the music zooms off on its own tangent, not caring what people think of it or where it takes them. Oppermann also drops in snippets of found sound radio monologue recordings in parts; of course in the spirit of the genre, these recordings bear little relation to the surrounding music and might say something about the atomised and fragmented nature of the society, dependent on trivia that lack a context (until we give them one), that we live in.
Side A of the tape tends to be more harsh while Side B, especially in its later half, features more spacey atmospheric mood work that can be surprisingly melodic, intentionally or unintentionally.
The dominant sound is a crackling, electrical static flow not unlike the more high-pressure water-hose treatments on some of Merzbow’s digital recordings and Merzbow fans enamoured of their hero’s earlier digital work might like to give Klinikal Skum’s work a listen as should also devotees of bands like Mammal, Hair Police, Yellow Swans and Burning Star Core. This is dark and menacing music that may be obsessed with death in parts.
Contact: Chondritic Sound