Bitchneck – Step 4 (C30, Not On Label)


Bitchneck is a harsh noise/power electronics project from Boston, and on this C30, the tracks tend to highlight drug addiction and recovery. In the twelve-step program, step 4 is truth, and it certainly feels as though Bitchneck is emphasizing that the past be scorched away, the only thing remaining being the truth about the addiction.

This is a two-sided cassette with the same tracks on both sides, so it’s possible to flip it over and start in again – the tracks are good enough to warrant this. “Misalign” is a squeaky rush of electronics that leads right into “Swallow,” one of the best tracks on this cassette. It utilizes a simple form – blurred harsh vocals and a continual high-pitched feedback squeal, combined with the fuzz of occasional static – but its lack of texture seems to indicate that sense of truth in step 4. There’s not much to mask the sound, just the hesitation of actually talking.

“Commitment” uses a spoken word sample about addiction as its backdrop, continuing throughout the track as scratchy walls pile upon it. Again, the sense of giving voice to addiction is present here, with the walls signifying how easy it is to attempt to cover up the truth. Finally, “Misremember” returns us to the echoing sounds of “Misalign” with metallic scrapes enunciated by distortion.

Step 4 is a short release but it has a lot of substance to it, and it sticks to the theme of drug dependency well. There are simpler, controlled bursts of harsh noise, and there are also layered textures to fuzz the brain. Both are done extremely well.


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