The cover of Place the Sweet Defeat Beneath My Feet features a dark and dingy hallway, and that’s exactly the kind of place I imagine Onkunde dwells. He sure likes to center his noise in this place, because this lengthy tape works in grimy drones and bass-heavy riffs that remind of poorly lit corridors housing escaped inmates.
Over the eleven tracks on this C60, Onkunde explores various areas of soundscapes, but on Side A the majority of these places involve loud and raucous overblown noises, most likely from a large array of distortion pedals and sourced from guitar. Sometimes, the rhythms are clear enough; most of the time, though, Onkunde masks everything into a large puddle of sound. That can cause problems, though; I find that am majority of the first side of Place the Sweet Defeat tends to mush together into one solid texture of reverb and distortion, at least until the black metal-like guitar chords and percussion in closer “Willing and Able”.
Side B switches things up a little bit and finds Onkunde exploring more varied textures; there are vocal moans, and less muffled sounds, allowing the more minute details of the noise to take hold. I enjoy the “Beneath My Feet” side more because of this; an all-out assault is nice, but it’s rather limiting after the first couple of tracks.
In a way, Onkunde’s work reminds me of T.O.M.B’s black metal style of noise, although Place the Sweet Defeat is much more abrasive and chaotic than that. In parts nuanced, in parts too saturated, this cassette works best when it pares things back just a little to give the listener room to breathe – until they’re covered in blankets of squall again.