Flesh Clocks is the duo of Julien Skrobek and Charlotte Skrobek, husband-and-wife team of harsh noise wallers that offers up a wall of high and low end sound. Columns of Blood‘s sub-title, the dedication to Adriana Varejão, indicates the artistic bent of Flesh Clocks, while still maintaining the dedication to the same ideals that Skrobek has worked with in the past.
Here, the wall is composed primarily of two different sounds. Charlotte comes in first with a low muffled bass that runs alone for five minutes; Julien then opens up with a torrent of crunchy static sounds. After that, the track allows the wall to run onward without much change for the duration of the sound.
It’s an interesting idea for a piece, especially a married couple. The two sounds interlock into one wall, allowing for the metaphor of relationship and marriage and so on. But it also shows how two sound samples can equally give and take for a track, and this is primarily the draw of Columns of Blood. The wall itself is not expansive, nor is it harsh – there’s a muffled texturing here that simply allows this to be a soothing, ambient-like track.
But it’s well worth a listen, and a fascinating look into the intimate lives of two artists coming together to form one wall.
Veiled Front is one of Mark Van Fleet’s only solo works (that I can find – I’ll have a review up of his other release Alien Versions soon), but he’s been around in the noise community for a while. In fact, he was part of Sword Heaven and a bunch of other monikers – and I love jamming to Sword Heaven. On Veiled Front, the spastic drums/vocals/guitars/etc. of that former project are dropped in favor of tape manipulations, synth, and the clanging of miscellaneous machinery.
The release starts out with the excellent whir and warp of tapes, plodding along and fading within a wall of sound that best summarizes Veiled Front - it is an experiment in texture, and it should be apparent to the listener fairly quickly that the expert combinations of keyboards, tapes, and other sounds have been carefully constructed with an ear for the formulation of hypnotic noise.
It is “Verde Fog,” Veiled Front‘s third track, that hits hard – Van Fleet destroys the calm with blaring horns, the kind of thing that could be cloyingly dissonant. But they aren’t; instead, they’re another great moment in a series. And then the most despairing moment follows with the lengthy finale “Version Flop,” a weaving soundscape of melancholy notes that ends Veiled Front on a high that eventually can lead right back into the opener.
Mark Van Fleet’s solo work is as excellent as his group efforts, and it certainly is recommended you check out Veiled Front from Little Miracles. It’s a shorter, mesmerizing listen.
Aderlating is part Gnaw Their Tongues and part Mowlaner, or Maurice de Jong and Eric Eijspaart respectively. They’re both coming from backgrounds well-versed in blackened noise and drone, and one look at the titles of the tracks on Gospel of the Burning Idols and the artwork on the fantastic digipak from Black Plagve and no one will mistake Aderlating for anything different.
And yet the sound on offer here is 40 minutes of more nuanced noise than might be expected. Aderlating still rely on some of the usual tactics, including building up their sound for explosive release and the gruff vocal delivery of the introductory track “Opening of the Tomb” (the best track on Gospel of the Burning Idols, by the way); but there’s also a careful consideration of volume and structure that adds much more to the tracks than simple blown-out guitar, synth, and machinery.
Of note are the drum tracks, which are quietened in the mix so as not to overwhelm. Aderlating’s percussion rhythms are quite complex and poly-rhythmic, like the choppy, cymbal-laden elements of “Spewed On By Slaves of Inhumanity.” But the droning, airy qualities of Gospel of the Burning Idols are also reasons to listen – not blasting at the listener, but slowly churning.
It’s a good release made even better by the thought put into the packaging. Both artists behind Aderlating are pros at this type of thing, but Gospel of the Burning Idols doesn’t rehash their styles. It’s bold and original, and enduringly dark.
Terror presents us with an interesting pairing of bands on this split between Delchia and Trolis & the Giberlingers. Delchia are a two-man group consisting of guitar and vocals, and they mostly do lengthy drones throughout their side, labeled “Kvantinis Osciliatorius”; Trolis & the Giberlingers have a penchant for playing glitchy synth-laden breakcore, and their offering is much more diffuse on “Mirror Gaze.”
Delchia starts things off with the two-part “Kvantinis Osciliatorius,” which mostly spirals along lines of guitar and heady bass parts throughout its run time. It is so droning, in fact, that it’s difficult to note where the first part ends and the second begins; perhaps that is just a reference to the length rather than any meaningful track break. The second piece, “Bedimensinis Dydis,” adds whispered vocals to the otherwise similar pairing of plucked strings, although on this one there are additional notes added to the drone to vary the piece towards the final moments.
Trolis & the Giberlingers open their side with “Magist,” a glitchy synth-pop instrumental with pounding bass, a staccato synth track, and just a hint of static manipulation underneath it all. It’s catchy, in a similar fashion to Fuck Buttons if they were a bit more abrasive. Included are both the regular and live version of “Mirror Gaze,” wandering synth tracks that lead right into each other. “Tu Busi” is heavy on the drum tracking, along with vocal interruptions of deep spoken word. “Beda” is the final cut with a return of the spoken word as well as a slurry of watery electronics that is the closest to noise Trolis & the Giberlingers come. But it’s also insanely catchy.
Kvantinis Osciliatorius/Mirror Gaze is a split that features two very different sonic soundscapes. While Delchia toil in the fuzz and drone of guitars, Trolis & the Giberlingers rave with synth and glitch. From one extreme to the other, this split is a great slice of what both artists can do.
Cellule Africaine is the second release by Pierre Ndoki on African Audio Documents, this time a 30 minute wall of unchanging sound that follows a similar pattern to Effacer Le Tableau. This wall is influenced by Jean Christophe Mitterand and the sale of illicit weapons, which netted him a profit of $1,800,000 and the murders of up to 1,000,000 people.
Again, “Cellule Africaine” is relatively unchanging throughout its thirty minutes. It presents with a raw, crackling static line with just a hint of bass. Underneath that is a thudding bass that nearly sounds like a march or a percussive drum roll, adding to the static’s already ripping sound. It all pairs together very well, hypnotically alternating and weaving as though there is movement when it really does seem like there is none to speak of. The setup is effective, and the lessened length this time at a half-hour is more welcoming to listeners.
This is another great experiment from Ndoki with even better results than the first release, and lovers of HNW will undoubtedly enjoy the crunch of these analog sounds. Head over to the African Audio Documents page to check if this is still available.
African Audio Documents is a relatively new label started and run by Pierre Ndoki, who also does all of the noise on the releases. Effacer Le Tableau is the first release on the label, which is presented in a very similar manner as the now-defunct label Slow Death Records used to do, with colored cover prints in a plastic sleeve with unlabeled CD-Rs. Effacer Le Tableau is inspired by Colonel Freddy Ngalimo’s introduction of war cannibalism in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The release is a solitary, nearly unchanging wall of bass textures. The track clocks in at exactly 50 minutes, a fairly lengthy bit of harsh/ambient noise wall. Not knowing a lot about this Congolese event, it’s difficult to comment on how exactly the track’s rigorous sub-bass pulse – crackling rumbles and pops paired with a low bass drone – relates to Ngalimo and war cannibalism, but the length feels overreaching, unnecessarily stretched. Whether that is the intention based on the influence is lost upon this listener, but the crackles didn’t hold my attention for the entire length.
Still, this is an interesting debut from African Audio Documents, and for close listeners the popping and crackle of the deep pockmarked textures are hypnotic for long periods of time. The simple layout of the release, and the studious nature of Ndoki’s themes and inspirations, make this a label to watch.
Oorchach’s blend of tribalism and synth-based drones doesn’t sound like anything new to a reader, but take the time to listen to all 40 minutes of Vigilia and you might feel differently. There’s a scope and magnitude to this work, and an obsession with repetitive forms that just barely morph throughout the tracks, that keeps Oorchach from falling into the same territory as those before. With three tracks, Vigilia punctuates the artist’s ability to hypnotize with texturing.
Vigilia‘s first side consists of both “Vigilia Nervosa” and “Vigilia Nostalgica.” The former is a track with a repetitive synth loop, hammering rhythmically away at the chords while Oorchach adds subsequent layers of vibrating noise and siren-like calls. It pulls the listener in, and then at the end “Vigilia Nervosa” blooms like a flower, adding all of these elements up to create a raucous conclusion. “Vigilia Nostalgica” follows a similar pattern, with another looped synth texture starting things off (fast-paced without space) while non-harsh feedback and high-pitched notes squall around it. Eventually a heavy thud adds the sound of something falling – a beat.
But the kicker on this tape is the final track, the entire B-side, called “Vigilia Aurora.” What starts out as subtle drones attempting to find a balance between noise and music morphs into an intense climax, where a rumbling percussive element joins with the warbling, siren-like crescendos of the synth. It’s a track brimming with explosiveness, and the build is incredible.
Vigilia‘s three tracks are full of great drones with original concepts, and Oorchach has the ability to make them noisy without losing the shape of the sound. This is hypnotic tape you’ll want to grab from Terror.