Various Artists – Six Ways of Thinking (C29, Hair On My Food Tapes & Records)

six ways of thinkingI’m not exactly sure what the submission call was for Hair On My Food’s compilation Six Ways of Thinking; the titles of the tracks give little indication, but based on the collection’s name, this is meant to be an outlet for harsh noise and harsh noise wall artists to basically do what they do best – destroy and manipulate sound. The theme might be lacking a cohesive direction, but the six tracks from different artists vary in sound enough to warrant checking out this release.

A lot of these artists I haven’t heard before, so Six Ways of Thinking acts as a quick introduction to some new projects one might have missed. S.I.V. (Self-Inflicted Violence), Michelada, and P*RCL.SPN have all flown under my radar, but they’re joined by more familiar acts like Torturing Nurse, Kill the Liver, and Hair On My Food’s owner’s project Extreme Chafing.

What we get is a grab bag of good harsh noise. S.I.V. starts things off with “Acedia”, harsh noise manipulations and cut-ups with swirls of static crumbles and destructive electronics that is relatively normal for the genre but good anyway. Torturing Nurse also hits hard with “The Demise of CCP,” which starts with harsh feedback and percussive crackles and then moves to kill off any semblance of rhythm by adding layered static and ham radio-like sweeps for a difficult but rewarding listen. Michelada finishes side A with a white-washed blast of higher-pitched noise that at times becomes an ear-piercing culmination of varying tones, with a old-style printer noise often attempting to break through the wall.

Kill the Liver’s track opens with a crackly synth ballad with spiraling feedback loops overtop. The synth work changes but consistently remains in the background, and it makes for an interesting listen where the harsh noise pairs with the insistent tone. Extreme Chafing offers up a nice, if short, harsh noise wall with “Heat Rash”, which sits in the middle range of bass and static tones. Finally, P*RCL.SPN cleans things up with a lot of heavy static that plays with stutters and a buzzing background texture; it’s not the best of the comp because it feels somewhat rudimentary and simple until its final moments.

Six Ways of Thinking is a good compilation for harsh noise fans, though, and one can’t go wrong with the thirty minutes of material. The six artists on this tape fit in well with each other (Kill the Liver, S.I.V., and P*RCL.SPN work with each othre in Handsome Heartbreakers, too), and that leaves a focused six-way split.

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