Bonesfield/Facialmess – Sabotage (C52, Phage Tapes)

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Bonesfield is a self-proclaimed harsh noise unit from Spain, and Facialmess is a cut-up artist from Japan. The two seem to be a perfect pairing for a split, as Sabotage consists of around 50 minutes of chaotic, aggressively-mixed noise full of loops, screaming electronics, and short, flowing tracks that run the gamut of noise sounds. The tape comes in a slick arigato pack, with a nice orange color fleshing out the laid-back tones of black and brown. A complicated mechanical design runs the length of the package, and though I’m not exactly sure what it is, it looks stylish and blends with the sounds of the tape.

Side A houses eight shorter-length tracks from Bonesfield, who focuses on higher-end static pummeling mixed with very twitchy manipulations. Often, and perhaps most enjoyable, Bonesfield layers loops into the tracks, and even plays with the rhythms of those loops to various effects. The short lengths of these tracks, coupled with the jumping electronic cuts, produces a very spastic effect on the listener, and these tracks rarely linger in one area before completely shifting the sound to a different idea. At times, the tracks merge so quickly together that it’s somewhat difficult to tell which track is which, blending the set into one jumble of harsh, quick cuts. But that’s not a bad thing, and the process with which Bonesfield composes his tracks warrants this type of erratic behavior. And it’s not as though Bonesfield is throwing out the baby with the bathwater on all of the tracks – there’s a soundscaped theme running through each track, with a consistent base of fuzz running underneath it all to center the listener.

The Facialmess side utilizes the same sort of chaotic, jumpy sound that Bonesfield does, although it does seem to be a little harsher in its source material. “Men of the City” opens with a sound sample that draws the listener in, only to have it obliterated by a heavy slab of harsh electronics. These jump cuts happen often, especially on this track, as Facialmess continues to slip speech samples in with the noise. It’s a bit difficult to listen intently to the samples, as the quickness of the transition doesn’t allow much time for the brain to process the sample, but the choppiness of the sound is nicely disorienting. They also allow the tracks to merge within each other, as it’s difficult to tell track changes with Facialmess’ stop-starts and caustic bursts of sound. It all makes for an extreme listen, one that somewhat requires the listener to remain a passenger on the artist’s ride. Too much thought on the noises produced and the sample choices means missing out on the experience.

The two artists on Sabotage know their textures, and the tracks featured make good use of varied sounds that meld together, and, conversely, some that intentionally don’t. It’s certainly a lot to take in at once, but the nuances in the tones and the harsh nature of the cuts makes this a really intense and enjoyable release.

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