Nocturnal – Untitled (CD-R, Slow Death Records)

Nocturnal is an elusive ambient wall noise act (ANW), a classification I’m somewhat hesitant to provide but which best describes Nocturnal’s static churnings. Much like the other releases on Slow Death Records, this CD-R is presented with red-shaded, tribal artwork on a white CD-R with four tracks of lengthy, relatively unchanging walls. Nocturnal sounds very similar to the stylings of Slow Death Records’ artist Ghost, although I cannot confirm that the artists are the same.

The first untitled track features a fuzzy brand of static which sounds fairly digital; there’s an initial undertone of wall rumbling from a layer of static, and on top of that is a single layer of fluctuating strands of static that strike and release, allowing the track to alternate and judder throughout its twenty minute runtime. It’s ambient and yet still mesmerizing because of this single line of static, which cuts in and out at unequal times and seems fairly random.

Untitled two retains that same digital fuzz, and this time the wall mimics what a harsh noise wall might do – a low rumble that is quite similar to the first track, with a minimal strand of static that rages right alongside it. There’s a good transition, and this track is what I would say would be most similar to something you might hear from Ghost’s harsher walls, with a similar set-up and different sound. Likewise, track three rolls right into a wall pretty identical to the second, although this is harsher, with a blown-out static movement along with rolling bass beneath it, something you might find less ambient than the other tracks on this Nocturnal disc. And finally, track four features the same rumbling textures but with a little extra audibility. The static seems strangely pared back but also more encompassing, an odd but hypnotizing sound that ends the disc.

There’s a strange fuzzy quality to Nocturnal that I love, something drenched in the mesmerizing sounds that can really fray the brain and fry the ears. There’s nothing on Untitled that might blow those listeners of HNW or ANW away, but it remains a significantly strong foray into that world regardless.

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