Filth – Winter Mind (C55, Out-of-Body Records)

Filth is a pulverizing power electronics artist, and as the first release on Out-of-Body Records, he has the honor of ushering in a new noise label. With Winter Mind, Filth offers up four tracks of rather unrelenting harsh electronics; the sound is coldly calculated, blurring some of the more generic tendencies of the PE genre with harsh noise interludes for a lengthy cassette.

Up first is “White Decay” and “Winter Mind”, and these two tracks tend to sprawl into each other without clear separation. For the purposes of the review, I’ll treat them as one, as there is no way for me to tell exactly where one begins and the other fades. Side A starts out with a maelstrom of PE sounds, the regular churns of feedback hits and throaty vocals that carry the track through the abrasions of noise. As the side moves on, Filth tends to chunk his noise, offering nodes of silence in between peals of feedback, tape manipulation, and most notably a couple of sections featuring drum machine rhythms saturated with static. The latter sections of “Winter Mind” tend to wane, as Filth lessens his hold on the harshness of earlier tones, but it’s quite an enjoyable side of tape.

On Side B are “Automatic Flesh” and “Saturated Blood”; the latter follows through with more feedback along with a thudding bassline to keep a rhythm going. Overtop is a layer of feedback, tape manipulations and squeaks, and of course the Filth vocals punctuating the dirty features of this noise. There’s a repetition of tone here, with that back bass keeping a fair amount of buzzing throughout while Filth experiments with the other elements of the soundscape. But I will say that this track is fairly par for power electronics, rather similar in its essence to Gnawed during its rhythmic reveries. When Filth cuts the noise out for delayed vocals, he leaves little gaps of unsettling tweaks that work better than the repetitive deliveries of the earlier parts of the track.

Again, the respite between “Automatic Flesh” and “Saturated Blood” is minimal, and so I will refer to them in the course of what makes sense to me as their separation. Filth combines some of the same techniques throughout, and here we are treated to held synth bass lines, tape manipulation that sounds very much like what Wolf Eyes do best, and the slow whirs of modulated tapes. We get the rhythmics of the drum machine which I enjoyed so much from the beginning. There’s a sense that “Saturated Blood” is a combination of the things we’ve been hearing from Filth, especially with the rise of a large wall of static combined with a searing mid-pitched tone carrying vocals.

There’s something about Winter Mind that makes it drag on too long, though. It’s the fact that Filth seems to stretch out his tracks with lots of, shall we say, filler; they’re repetitive drags that aren’t hypnotic enough to capture the attention, and yet still long enough to warrant a questioning from the listener. But those areas are between strong moments of cathartic power, filled with a nuanced variety of dominating noise sounds. It’s certainly worth a listen, but it’s not an exercise in brevity – those with short attention spans might be thrown off by the lingering of repetitive structures.

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