Roadside Picnic – Failed Frankenstein (2xC30, Autistic Campaign)

Glitch, harsh noise, Noise, Review

failed frankensteinI’ve reviewed another of Justin Wiggan’s Roadside Picnic releases before, but it has little in common with Autistic Campaign’s big-box release of Failed Frankenstein, a five-track series of cut-up noise sounds with lots of warbling and texture throughout. To be honest, the actual theme of Roadside Picnic’s release escapes me to some extent, mostly because I can’t seem to find context to the references used on the second tape; but even without that meaning, the sounds themselves are a good representation of Roadside Picnic stitching together an amalgamation of noise parts into a patchwork whole.

The first tape’s A-side features the two title tracks, “Failed Frankenstein” and “Rectified Frankenstein.” “Failed Frankenstein” is the most difficult listen of either tape, a series of crackles, tape manipulations, and sounds that are abbreviated by pops and spaces in the track. It’s all held together fairly well, though it takes a couple of listens to see the appeal in Roadside Picnic’s Frankensteinian creation of utilizing different sound sources with lots of silence and stuttering in between. “Rectified Frankenstein” comes together with creature moans and some more static.

The other parts of Failed Frankenstein are slightly more walled in texture. “Paris 1953” starts, then cuts out for about 15 seconds before picking up with a heavy static crackle, opening up later in the track. The second tape, the two part “Egypt 1974,” is a series of glitchy feedback loops and circuitry squeals, varying slightly within the tracks but ultimately maintaining the segmented, splotchy texture that is perpetuated across this release. Roadside Picnic is emphasizing the use of pops, stutters, and glitches on Failed Frankenstein, and for the most part it works very well to draw attention to how interesting that sounds to the ears. “Part 2” does even more with the textured layering of sound, working in a shimmering feedback loop, extra-crackly static, and the occasional synth working through high octaves.

Failed Frankenstein is an interesting experiment, one that often works. The way Roadside Picnic has managed to create patterns out of his warbled patchy tracks is entertaining to say the least, and over the course of this two-tape release, the artist manages to come up with new techniques to make the method feel unique on each. Failed Frankenstein is a monster made up of different pieces, but they cohere into something that’s can’t be considered a failure.

Justic Marc Lloyd – Your (CD, Love Earth Music)

Drone, Glitch, harsh noise, Noise, psychedelic

your

“[Your is a] conceptual effort intended as a highlight of JML’s output,” the album notes state for Justic Marc Lloyd’s solo release, and this is as good a summary as any that I can think of. Over the course of multiple monikers in the noise hemisphere, including Pregnant Spore, Dementia and Hope Trails, and his wall output as False Flag, Lloyd has spanned the gamut of the genre: HNW, harsh noise, drone, tape loops, electronics, glitch. Not every release incorporates all of these elements, but Lloyd has been right there on all of them, successfully delivering excellent releases at every turn. On Your, he combines all of these sub-genres for an eleven-track album that sums up his diverse discography perfectly.

Your is not a collection of eclectic songs that have relatively little in common with each other. Despite the variability of sound, Lloyd has crafted an album that swings effortlessly between genres, often in the same track. “Feeling Submissive? Signal Two: A Thumbing” strikes a balance between the wonky tape loops and the rhythmic, as does “The Number Five Tasted Wrong, Part 2.” The opening moments are full of Lloyd’s penchant for grabbing interesting sound clips and pairing them off together.

The album continues into the other elements Lloyd has worked with in the past. “Most of the World” is a guitar-driven psychedelic swirl complete with whispered vocals and a clicking computer error chirrup; similar things occur in “Most of Our World,” but with a more electronic bent. Lloyd follows many of his tracks with a sequel part, using many of the same elements in unique ways; it keeps Your feeling fresh and focused, continually reusing and recycling similar sounds.

“Seemingly Under-Lion Self-Talk in the Form of Adam’s Sharp and Heavy Apple” hits on the harsh noise wall crunch with a high-pitched but lo-fi feedback rumble before opening up into an airy drone. Your ends with a couple of rhythmic, warped numbers, one of which spans for nearly ten minutes, to finish strongly.

Lloyd has really crafted a fantastic disc, and any of those who have followed his other work will find themselves right at home with nearly an hour of material. Your is meant to be a comment on motivational works and especially those of Wayne Dyer, and it’s hard not to come away from the album with a more positive light despite the discordance: accept the chaos and malfunction, because “you feel how you think.”

recommended

Delchia/Trolis & the Giberlingers – Kvantinis Osciliatorius/Mirror Gaze (C70, Terror)

Drone, dub, Glitch, Music, Noise, Review

trolis delchia

Terror presents us with an interesting pairing of bands on this split between Delchia and Trolis & the Giberlingers. Delchia are a two-man group consisting of guitar and vocals, and they mostly do lengthy drones throughout their side, labeled “Kvantinis Osciliatorius”; Trolis & the Giberlingers have a penchant for playing glitchy synth-laden breakcore, and their offering is much more diffuse on “Mirror Gaze.”

Delchia starts things off with the two-part “Kvantinis Osciliatorius,” which mostly spirals along lines of guitar and heady bass parts throughout its run time. It is so droning, in fact, that it’s difficult to note where the first part ends and the second begins; perhaps that is just a reference to the length rather than any meaningful track break. The second piece, “Bedimensinis Dydis,” adds whispered vocals to the otherwise similar pairing of plucked strings, although on this one there are additional notes added to the drone to vary the piece towards the final moments.

Trolis & the Giberlingers open their side with “Magist,” a glitchy synth-pop instrumental with pounding bass, a staccato synth track, and just a hint of static manipulation underneath it all. It’s catchy, in a similar fashion to Fuck Buttons if they were a bit more abrasive. Included are both the regular and live version of “Mirror Gaze,” wandering synth tracks that lead right into each other. “Tu Busi” is heavy on the drum tracking, along with vocal interruptions of deep spoken word. “Beda” is the final cut with a return of the spoken word as well as a slurry of watery electronics that is the closest to noise Trolis & the Giberlingers come. But it’s also insanely catchy.

Kvantinis Osciliatorius/Mirror Gaze is a split that features two very different sonic soundscapes. While Delchia toil in the fuzz and drone of guitars, Trolis & the Giberlingers rave with synth and glitch. From one extreme to the other, this split is a great slice of what both artists can do.

Venta Protesix – I’m the Most Intimate Fantasy of Your Sister (3″ CD-R, Ikebukuro Dada)

Drone, Glitch, harsh noise, Noise, Review

i'm the most

From loops to anime and hentai samples, pitch shifts to longer drones, Venta Protesix is all over the place on I’m the Most Intimate Fantasy of Your Sister. It matches his personality well – I’ve read interviews with him where he expresses dislike of being labeled a musician in any sense, and it really seems like he randomly cobbles together sounds without much thought to what goes where and how it might sound to a listener who isn’t aware of his noise formula.

Whether you subscribe to that idea or not, Venta Protesix doesn’t care – that’s what you’re going to be hearing. There are two short tracks on this 8 minute mini CD-R; the first title track is a hodgepodge of clipping loops, pitched oscillations, and Japanese anime voice-overs. Some of it works, and some of it doesn’t – that’s the trouble with cut-up because you never know what you’ll get, and obviously some of these loops don’t grab the attention as much as others. In longer form, it might have been more successful.

The second track is more of a harsh drone than cut-ups. “A Hikikomori’s Immoral Tendencies” features an feedbacked source drone with some variety of whirring, high-pitched sounds overtop of it. It’s a more focused track than the first, but overall it’s not an immensely rewarding offering.

Still, Venta Protesix has the ability to draw from a wide variety of sound sources. And from a guy who says he can perform live with just a couple of hentai loops, I’m the Most Intimate Fantasy of Your Sister is thankfully a little more nuanced and crafted.

Loopool – Navigator’s Spice Trance (3″ CD-R, Records Ad Nauseam)

Drone, Glitch, harsh noise, Noise, Review

navigators spice trnce

Loopool’s mini-CD-R Navigator’s Spice Trance works in longer form, something that the project has been experimenting with of late. The release Steaming was a massive eight-hour long track that I really need to find time to listen to in full – that’s been sitting on my shelf for a while, just because I haven’t had any opportunity to give that a qualified review. The single track on this release, “Navigator’s Spice Trance,” isn’t nearly as long as Steaming, and yet it has many similar qualities.

It clocks in around 20 minutes, and throughout the track Loopool maintains a steady feeling of digital buffering. The drone clips and echoes, sometimes speeding up or slowing down. The changes in its nature seem randomly altered, leading to a trance-like effect that serves as a way to surprise the listener when the noise changes. For the most part, “Navigator’s Spice Trance” sounds fairly uniform, but a careful listener will pick up significant variations within the sound, especially towards the end of the track.

It’s certainly as looping as the project’s name suggests, but the warbled tone does tend to wear over time. The twenty minute mark feels a little excessive for this tone, but again, some listeners might find that the random pockets of new sound give the track a variation that warrants the longer running time. Loopool has crafted an interesting release, but it might overstay its welcome.

Meat Glue – Winona (CD-R, Not On Label)

Glitch, harsh noise, harsh noise wall, Noise, Review, Shitcore

meat glue winona

Meat Glue is a difficult project, not just because of the sound but because their releases are so illogical, mysterious, and unlabeled that it’s hard to document them or review them for something like Memory Wave Transmission.

I take pride in keeping a fairly well-organized blog of information about many limited-release noise albums that might not be readily available on the Internet, but everything Meat Glue does kind of undermines that. I had to search high and low to figure out what exactly this release was called, because the packaging I have for Winona is simply a double-sided CD sleeve with lots of graffiti-ed paper artwork, all of which tells me nothing about this release. The only thing I managed to find was a scrawl on the CD-R that says “Winona,” as well as being able to compare the sounds to an Archive MP3 Meat Glue uploaded.

With all of this in mind, with no track titles (or tracks themselves) to guide me, I sat down to listen to Winona. All 74 minutes of it. That’s a long time for any release (it completely fills a CD-R), but for a project like Meat Glue, 74 minutes feels like an eternity. That’s not because I hate their noise or I think it’s bad, it’s just that Meat Glue loads this release with tons and tons of sound. It’s hard to keep track of everything that’s happened after you finish with it.

That’s one way to look at noise – to dispense with all the trappings of “music” and to piledrive the listener with sound. Meat Glue lives up to their moniker; like the pasty substance derived from mounds of waste meat from all different animals, they take any bit of sound they can get their hands on and then mush it all together.

That means Winona is both crushing and frustrating at the same time. There are parts of this release that I really loved, and then there are parts (like the first few minutes of vocal collage) that I could have done without. But since Winona isn’t divided at all, and it’s thrown together haphazardly even though it seems it was recorded at different times and then edited together, you’ll never have the chance to just go back and revisit the good moments. You can fast forward, of course, but that’s time-consuming in itself.

That leaves you listening to the mountain of noise on this release just for key moments, and maybe you don’t have the time to invest in over an hour of trash-banging analog and reverbed samples. But there’s a reverse edge to this as well; if you can’t listen all at once, Winona works well as a CD-R that you can pause and come back to, as though every time you listen it’s a different recording.

It’s up to you whether you like this sort of thing, and I can’t say that I have an interest in going back to Winona anytime soon. But Meat Glue present this CD-R simply as-is, and they don’t make a claim that it’s anything more than a pile of shredded noise molded into thick, clumpy mess. Take it at face value.

Skullcaster – Cognitive Infiltration (C32, Ratskin Records)

Glitch, harsh noise, Noise, Review

skullcaster

Harsh noise is often cut-up and glitchy, but Skullcaster takes it to another level with the two tracks on Cognitive Infiltration – these are jumpy, chaotic, and often more digital-sounding than analog. This C32 tape features two 16 minute tracks across both sides, with the A-track a bit more caustic than the B-side.

Both tracks are untitled, and they’re relatively similar in terms of content – bleeps, bloops, whirrs, all rather glitched-out and sampled in different areas of the tracks. Side A is certainly a harsher track, although the sounds Skullcaster creates aren’t technically difficult to listen to. Their edges seem rounded, if you will – they’re not sharp blasts of noise, but they’re still confrontational all the same.

The thing is, Cognitive Infiltration never hits the same areas twice, although both tracks seem corralled into an overall theme. The sounds are all over the place, and that’s a good thing – you’re not going to hear Skullcaster reiterate the same sounds, or at least not in the same ways. There are certain samples that stick, others that don’t, but that’s the way it is with the hectic harsh noise of Skullcaster and you either like it or you don’t.

The second side is slightly less noisy, with a focus on controlled bursts and blasts. There are moments of relative calm, only to be tainted by heavy hits of sound. Both tracks work well, and at the medium length 16-minute mark, you don’t have to spend a lot of time getting into murkier territory.

Cognitive Infiltration is worth a pick-up if you like harsh noise, and occasionally Skullcaster reminds of Merzbow in his digital era – unrelenting noise swirled with all sorts of samples.

M&Ogs – Pig Love Meets Bab(ies) and a Classical Dancer (3″ CD-R, Ikebukuro Dada)

Glitch, harsh noise, Noise, Review

photo

M&Ogs is the harsh noise/glitchy project from one-half of Prairie-Litière and Baptiste Villain. The abstract nature of the project’s title and the album title is lost upon me, and I can find no reference to it elsewhere on the web, but it’s obvious from this release that there’s a motive to all the madness. This mini-CD-R comes packaged on a piece of linoleum.

An interesting note about my own copy of Pig Love Meets Bab(ies) and a Classical Dancer: 

The linoleum and plastic housing the CD-R had kind of melted all together; the linoleum was sticky and the plastic attached, and I had to rip through the plastic and pry the CD-R from its plastic tabs to get it out. It took some Windex and elbow grease to remove the sticky adhesive from the back of the CD-R, but sometimes it still skipped in the CD player. That was interesting to me because it was almost like an anti-record of sorts; M&Ogs’ sound on this release is focused on oscillating textures and skipping, glitchy sounds, and when the CD skipped it increased the amount of oscillations tenfold.

But for most, that’s probably not going to be the experience when listening to this album. Pig Love Meets Bab(ies) and a Classical Dancer is odd because it features sonic oscillations that would normally be thought of as filler textures in other harsh noise tracks. The glitching sounds, the quick transitions from bass textures, are all very minimal in comparison to the soundscapes one might generally hear them in.

But put into context over 15 minutes such as is the case with this release, it actually sort of works. I’m not sure how successful it would be in a larger scope – say, if M&Ogs did something similar for every release – but Pig Love Meets Bab(ies) and a Classical Dancer is a solid listen, especially if you get a damaged disc like mine.

Various Artists – Austin Noise 2013 (2xCD, Instincto Records)

dark ambient, Drone, Glitch, harsh noise, harsh noise wall, Industrial, Noise, Noisecore, power electronics, Review, Shitcore, spoken word

20130812-123040.jpg

Austin Noise 2013 is a compilation from Instincto Records collecting tracks from harsh noise/drone/experimental acts located in the Austin, Texas region. Over the course of two discs and two hours, the compilation features 46 artists, most of them rather obscure projects that many might not have heard. The collection is available in a set of 200, though I’m not sure how many of those went to the artists themselves.

The two discs of Austin Noise 2013 span a variety of different noise configurations. There’s the more experimental workings of Odor Baby’s “THE LIVE MISTRESS CAPITOL OF THE WORLD!!! AWESOME!!!”, which features a spoken word poem about sexual deviance delivered by an erotic mistress; drone offerings from Jacob Green and Pat Epley; then there’s the more harsh noise-oriented stuff from Mucophagia’s devastating “Fold Mold”, Aunt’s Analog’s harsh noise wall, Skullcaster’s “Blaggard”, and Sex Bruises’ “Good Lawyer.” There’s also the weird, thanks to Crashbarron’s channel-flipping track “Exciting Biceps” and Breakdancing Ronald Reagan, a project that always manages to crank out something off-beat and disturbed.

As you can see from the above amalgam of just some of the artists, there are those that are more well-known and those that haven’t really been experienced before. But what’s great about Austin Noise 2013 is that it gives the listener the chance to experience all of these acts at least once. Like any compilation, there are some really outstanding tracks on here coupled with those that might not tickle my fancy; yet that’s what a compilation is meant to do. Will you end up checking out all of the artists on here? Probably not. But you’ll definitely find some to whet your appetite, to force you to go out and find their discography. That’s what you want in a comp, and Austin Noise 2013 delivers.

There’s far too much on here to go into detail, but definitely check out this double-CD set if you can get your hands on it. You won’t regret hearing what Austin, TX has to offer.

Endometrium Cuntplow – Eclipse Blindness (CD-R, Obfuscated Records)

Drone, Glitch, harsh noise, Noise, Review

eclipse blindeness

Endometrium Cuntplow is David Lucien Matheke, who has amassed quite a number of releases in the past few years. Eclipse Blindness is three tracks at about 45 minutes in runtime, released on the great Obfuscated Records label. It comes with a high-def glossy insert and some picture artwork on the CD cover, and it all looks great for such a small release.

The first track on the album is “Phasing In”, and it sets the tone for the rest of the album. There’s a linear progression through each track on the disc; like its title, the opening track is sort of an introduction to Endometrium Cuntplow. A locked groove opens things, sort of like a digital version of the scratching of a record that’s run its course. Over time, the track opens up with more sounds piled on top; alarum blasts and blipping tones that feel slightly mismatched from the loop are added, creating a whirlwind that sounds off-kilter and mesmerizing.

It leads into “Staring At the Sun”, a more blustery track than its predecessor. The loops are still here, but this time there’s what sounds like a fuzzy guitar line fed through lots of effects. It builds to greater heights, a frenzy that adds more electronics than the previous track – and it climaxes into “Blurred and Obscured”, which is, for this release, the harshest track that sounds exactly like what the title entails.

I like the perceived theme throughout Eclipse Blindness, and I think it works well with Endometrium Cuntplow’s blend of rhythm and harshness. And thanks to the excellent production values and packaging from Obfuscated Records, this is an album that’s worth your listen and your money.