Holographic Beast – Perpetual Filth (C40, Know/Care Sounds)

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Holographic Beast is a noise/drone project from Jeff Smith, released on semi-label Know/Care Sounds. There’s seven tracks on this C40, ranging the gamut from droning synth work to cut up harsh noise to relatively minimalist soundscapes, and from what I’ve seen and read about the project, Holographic Beast seems steeped in the memories of those that have passed on. There’s anger and frustration on this cassette, as well as long passages of acceptance, and it seems rather appropriate to honor someone within the context of chaotic sound – the same sort of mental chaos akin to grief.

Perpetual Filth opens with “From Here On It Only Gets Worse” (life? or the noise?), which features some really high synth work reminiscent of something from Tales from the Darkside before jumping into choppy blasts of electronics. Nicely nuanced, with a lot of pulsations and feedback lines – I’m not generally a fan of harsh noise like this but the execution and texturing works well. “Claremont” is a pretty simple, fuzzed-out drone piece with lots of what sounds like synth, but it also could be guitar strummed and warped by pedals and knobs. It’s a good piece, although definitely not the stand-out drone of the release. “Every Year’s End” is another drone, by all accounts much darker and lingering.

The second side of this tape begins with “04/05”, a harsh cut up piece that doesn’t last too long but really hit a lot of different areas of noise. Sometimes the collection feels a bit random, a little sprawling, but for a short piece it’s quite an enjoyable ferocious track. “The Numbing Process” is really interesting, because it starts off very sparse and begins to form shapes throughout. There’s quite a lot of space, giving Holographic Beast the free rein to riff over top of the electronics with explosive blasts of sound. “The Closest It Will Ever Be” comes back to the fury of pulsating static abruptly stuttered and sprinkled throughout, which transitions nicely into some powerful squalls of rich feedback sound, only to morph again into power electronics at the end. And just as schizophrenically, we return to one of the most poignant and emotional drones I’ve heard in a while with “Remember This Moment”, an endearing and literally moving piece with lots of reverb that shakes to the core. There’s that hint of synth melody right at the middle of the piece that I really enjoyed, and it’s such a great way to reflect upon the intense noise blasts heard on this cassette.

The theme of Perpetual Filth really shines through during the noise, and that’s one thing that I really love about this cassette. There’s aggression, and then a backing off, as though that anger has resided into a gentler wave. Sometimes there’s darkness within the drone, or emotion, but in all of Holographic Beast’s sounds, there is something behind the track that drives it. There is an impulse, and listening to the tape contextualizes it.

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