Various Artists – Skin Irritant (C60, Deaf Culture Music)

Just looking at the artists on Skin Irritant would tell you that you’re in for a good listening experience, but the j-card featuring pictures of all of the skin conditions featured on this compilation is also a plus. The packaging done by Deaf Culture Music for this C60 is excellent, and I just wanted to point that out because a lot of the time the j-cards in tapes are general, with info only. Artists featured on this cassette are Griz+zlor, Pregnant Spore, Tinnitusstimulus, Sleep of Ages, Mccord, BBBlood, Boar, Axemrangers, and Apophallation.

First on side A is BBBlood. “Anacardiaceae” starts with some whines, scratches, and pops that seem like field recordings before heading into a blast of static harsh noise, complete with the same throbbing bass line heard in the field recording that kind of sounds like the hum of a lawn mower. Good texturing from the Baron, and I hadn’t realized that BBBlood had strayed so far into the wall territory; from earlier releases I’ve heard from him, he was experimenting in sound samples and minimal harsh noise. Boar is next with “Staff Infection,” something I can relate to because I’ve had more than my fair share of staph infections. Ambient drone sounds and vibrating thuds begin the track before mid-level static takes over; this is paired with some feedback lines and some surging bass, although none of what Boar does on here stays in one area for long. The judder of the static is quite alluring.

Pregnant Spore’s got a looping bit of fuzz on “Psoriasis,” with a bassy static tone repeating on and off, sometimes finishing its progression, sometimes interrupted, always forming a beat of punctuation. Behind it is an annoying squealing that shudders and jolts, sometimes along with the static, sometimes not. This is an interesting track, although certainly not the best on Skin Irritant. Griz+zlor ends side A with “Severe Destructive Necrotic Lesions”, featuring excellent texturing as always from the HNW artist. There’s a drone of bass underneath some tinny-sounding static, and the interplay is fantastic; they judder together in a loop at times before Griz+zlor varies the sound slightly.

Tinnitustimulus opens side B with a great track of frolicking static on “Hot Oil Burns”. It starts out minimal with a nice rumble while small licks and crackles pepper the soundscape; then, it slowly ramps up with short bursts of enveloping static like Velcro being ripped apart. Sleep of Ages’ “Urticaria Hives” is less like a wall than a very droning outburst, with a nice stuttering texture in the back with a lot of front-end feedback and a few small changes in the background. Axemrangers gives us “Tactile Sensory Disorder,” which is a flowing track of minimal noise bursts, drones, a wavering texture, and some muffled vocals. Apophallation and Mccord finish things off – Mccord I’ve never heard of, and on Discogs the project is only featured on two compilations. Apophallation throws us some crunchy harsh noise wall, standard but with some good texture changes throughout. Mccord gives an excellent, rough wall of bass and ambient textures with “Creeping Eruption.”

In this long-winded review, I hope I’ve given you enough reasons to check out this compilation. There are some fantastic moving walls on this C60 from the best artists in the genre, and to pass it up would be unreasonable.

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