Aikichi Kuboyama – Conflict (MP3, Hum and Hiss Records)

Aikichi Kuboyama’s contribution to the all-digital, all-HNW label Hum and Hiss Records features two untitled tracks of crunchy, feedback-driven harsh noise walls. They’re short and concise, but with a dynamic mix of balance shifts that embody the title of the release, as each piece of noise feels in opposition to the other until they join for a mix of abrasive sound.

The first track kicks in with a raspy static drone, buzzing and repetitious with an aggressive, domineering nature, until the track quickly transitions to a steady high-pitched tone that attacks the right side of the balance, along with a consistent buzz of static in the background that continues the rhythm of the opening. Kuboyama gives a very harsh first track, constantly layering the static with long, sustained feedback and wavery screeching tones. There’s a lot to listen for, and the short track ensures many structural tweaks along the way. But the one area Kuboyama stays planted in is a static-drenched background and a high-pitched assault, a wicked way to start the release. Also on display is that constant conflict between the right and left balance of the track, where each seems trying to outdo the other. A tug-of-war ensues that is devious to the ears, and perhaps the only stationary idea is the rumble of bass static. I really enjoyed this first track, as it remains 50% caught in a loop and 50% experimental.

However, I would have liked to see the track remain in the same pattern until its end, rather than deconstruct into its requisite parts before cutting out. I think that the track, in its wholeness, remains a more interesting and mysterious mix than when Kuboyama breaks it up, and the breaking of the piece detracts from its original lovable chaos.

The second track is a bit more traditional in its static wall, although it still holds a few surprises. Rumbling static with little pocks and drips flows for a short durations, and then very tinny, scrappy static washes over the entirety of the sound. These two ideas alternate back and forth, again with that sense of conflict, until both seem to come together in a mesh of the two sounds into one texture, with the tinny qualities of the latter breaking through the former’s rumble in intermittent bursts. Then it’s back to pattern of static rumbles and pounding rain static, only to meld again. Repetitious and symmetrical, the wall created by Kuboyama emphasizes the drama between conflict and the combination of the two sounds, notably ending with the original bass rumble and the sharp static missing.

Kuboyama presents a very short HNW duo, two untitled tracks of dynamic sound that considerably focuses on the theme of the title. In this regard, there’s a conflict within all pieces of the tracks, and there’s a multidimensionality to the listen, both in listening for the nihilism of the wall but also the conflict within the textures.

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