Thirteen Fingers is a harsh noise project for North Carolina. The alias has a few releases out so far, some digital albums and a couple of tape collections including one on Richard Ramirez’s Dead Audio Tapes with Four Flies. On Pater Mortuus, Thirteen Fingers gives us six tracks of relatively similar lengths that emphasizes loose rigidity of sound.
The first untitled cut opens up with a wavering shudder that continues throughout the track, although Thirteen Fingers allows textures to interplay throughout. There is a lot of crunch to the tracks on Pater Mortuus, and in a way they resemble walls in structure; but much of the time the project is quick to twist and re-layer noises together. There’s a pattern of taking crumbles of bass and then overlaying them with focal sounds, like the second untitled’s whirs and loops.
The second side in general steps back a bit from the harsher moments for longer, atmospheric cuts. “Untitled 4″ adds a screaming siren layer to its bass, giving the listener a sharp contrast to the walled textures that come before it. “Untitled 5″ is the longest on this cassette, a brooding drone that features staccato rumbles and a vibrato tone.
All told these are six great slices of harsh noise, with the first side hitting the heavy parts of the genre while the second manages to offer up dronier visions. Thirteen Fingers effectively manages both, and Pater Mortuus is strong because of it.
Umpio previously released Sauna as a C30 on ObscureX back in 2010, but Terror has nicely redesigned the set in a digipak, with four new tracks previously unreleased. It’s a great-looking digipak, and for the price you can’t beat restocking your collection with a re-release that adds so many more tracks.
Umpio hits hard with the two focal points of the release, the two fifteen-minute tracks “Burning Foundation” and “Heat, Sweat, and Stink.” Both are long-running moments of harsh noise destruction, with the latter track taking on a more ambient, spacier tone. “Burning Foundation” features what sounds like a percussive rhythm underneath the scrapes and smashes of junk metal.
The four additional tracks, recorded a year after the original Sauna set with Pekka PT, are shorter and brisker, straight to the point with scratchy crumbles. They certainly sound recorded at a different period than the first two tracks, but these ones have a cohesive feeling – mainly emphasized by the higher-pitched screeches that clamor around each cut.
If you’re a fan of Umpio’s brand of junky, metallic harsh noise, Sauna is well worth the purchase. The four new tracks add a lot, even if they don’t feel particularly linked to the the original release. And Sauna is even a good starting point for those looking to get into Umpio.
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.