K2 / Constrain / Fenian – K2 / Constrain / Fenian (CD, Oxen)

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K2 gives up one 15 minute track of searing harsh noise, crushing right from the start and certainly reminiscent of his own style. As always, it’s difficult to say something specific about “Sarrogate for Mass Murder” because of its eclecticism, running the gamut from junk electronics crunch to super-hot white noise, and then also slipping into a rhythmic loop here and there. One thing’s for sure: K2 never ends up in the same place he starts, and “Sarrogate for Mass Murder” is a wholly rewarding listen to hear the artist churn out constant changes in the sound. It’s also an intensely brutal track that doesn’t let up throughout the full 15 minutes.

Constrain follows with “Recognizable Mask,” shorter at nearly 8 minutes. This is a cut that focuses on a more mid-range level of noise – lots of static crunch, and a lot of twisty alternation within what could be considered a wall of sound. This is similar to what one might find in HNW, the textures fitting within that unchanging dynamic while, over the top, Constrain shifts things slightly with glitchy repetitions and subtle feedback spikes.

Fenian also gets a solo track, “Phenomenology,” that comes in just over the 7 minute mark. Harsh feedback whirrs and stutters of white noise present in the foreground while Fenian¬†provides a backdrop of gritty static alterations, constantly writhing away to provide depth of field. Again, this is a lot less caustic than what K2 presents; it has some sharp moments, but it has less variation within the volume and tone. There are higher-pitched electronics and sizzles – and at the midpoint, an excellent mix of chirps and glassware as “Phenomenology” moves along, though, and I really enjoyed the baseline sound that carries the track forward.

Finally, K2, Constrain, and Fenian come together on a collaboration piece called “Spreading Particles Go Smoky.” This one’s got a great mix of sounds, some that feel as crunchy as what Constrain gives up in “Recognizable Mask” and a little of Fenian’s screechy electronics. Mostly, though, it feels like a K2 track that he’s remixed, which is because that’s exactly what happened. Using some of Fenian’s and Constrain’s noise, he’s included a lot of his own noise ideas – the constant cuts and edits – as well. It results in another really harsh track, an amalgamation of each of these harsh noise artists’ specific sounds.

If you’re looking for some great authentic harsh noise, you can’t overlook the masterful works of K2. And paired with Constrain and Fenian, this split/collaboration album on Oxen is really wonderful listen. Get yr mitts on it.

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