TADM/Timisoara – I Am Not Dying In a Nightmare (CD-R + 3″ CD-R, Cipher Productions)

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This split release from TADM (Two Assistant Deputy Ministers) and Timisoara comes with two discs, one a full-length CD-R with four crushing tracks of drone from Timisoara and harsh noise from TADM, plus a mini-CD-R with another track from each artist. It’s an interesting set-up, the concept of which I’m not sure I quite understand, but the packaging makes for a neat but over-sized item for a CD collection.

On the longer disc, Timisoara starts things off with “Cold Blood,” a 30-minute sprawling opus of guitar drone manipulated and maneuvered so that each plucking of the string tends to reverberate back and forth between the balance of the sound, first the right, then the left, and so forth. It creates a sort of echoing feeling, where one isn’t sure where the sound begins and where it ends, and the track sort of sprawls forth from there, never really changing its idea but always somewhat different thanks to an ambient drone crafted throughout. It’s a hypnotic listen, and it works for its entirety, even if the guitar tones beneath might seem rudimentary enough. TADM follows up with a lengthy set of three tracks, and he gets more space on this CD to work with. TADM contributes some very digital harsh noise to this release, bleeps and bloops that won’t be mistaken for analog noise in the least. The highlight track is the 30-minute “That Temptation. What is That Temptation.”, which sort of hits all of the areas that TADM focuses on in the other tracks, just drawn out on this one track. At first, the harsh squall of the digitized, compressed sound is really brutal, and for a while the white-wash of noise that TADM throws at the listener is difficult to take in. But ultimately, the lack of variability across the aforementioned track and the similarities within “Mother’s Bloated Corpse Ripped Raw” are the main problems of TADM’s contribution; it’s fine harsh noise, but the tracks don’t do much to denote themselves from anything else in the genre. The tweakings and manipulations are pretty standard, and there’s too much emphasis on the brutality of blurring noise rather than creating something more. Fortunately, “It Was As If the Shame of It Must Outlive Him.” adds some rhythmic noise to end the disc, and it stands out for that while also maintaining a very agitating sound.

On the second disc, TADM gives us “crackFUCKINGsteel,” another raging noise track that also separates itself from the other mixes of his work on I Am Not Dying In a Nightmare by adding some rhythm to the opening before plunging into the shards of static and crackle. Again, it’s pretty standard harsh noise, but there are times where the digital glitching of TADM’s work shine through. But overall, on this release I tend to find TADM’s noise distracting in its full-on rage, and the tracks tend to blend together with only minor peeks at ventures into new territory. Timisoara rounds out the package with a longer track of droning sounds, windswept peels and churning mechanical contortions mixed with whispery vibratos in the forefront, often evoking the essence of a haunted carnival house on a dark and stormy night.

Ultimately it is the quiet ambiance of Timisoara that carries this release, not because TADM’s noise is lacking in essence but simply because the harsh noise is, to put it bluntly, more of the same. Let’s be clear that TADM is doing a lot of good with his raucous digital percussion; it’s just that the tracks on offer are quite similar and standard output, while Timisoara’s tracks are rife with new tonalities and permutations. Even so, the two sides to I Am Not Dying In a Nightmare compliment each other, just a little unequally.

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