Unsustainable Social Condition – Unsustainable Social Condition (C10, Oxen)

harsh noise, Noisecore, noisegrind

Unsustainable Social Condition is the harsh noise/noisecore project of Matt Purse, also owner and operator of the Oxen label. This project has amassed a number of new releases in 2016, almost all of them released on Oxen. Notably, it seems as though Unsustainable Social Condition moves through a number of different noise genres, since one of the project’s latest releases, Dispersant, features a series of four tracks with lengthier runtimes than what’s offered on this self-titled cassette. Over ten minutes, Unsustainable Social Condition gives us crumbling harsh noise and blast beats akin to some of Sissy Spacek’s noisecore speed offerings, with 23 tracks across both sides in very minute bursts.

It’s too difficult to tell where one cut ends and another begins on this release, so referring to individual tracks is an unhelpful reference. Instead, Unsustainable Social Condition’s tracks tend to blend into each other, with crumbling noise-wall textures and crunchy swirls of noise pairing well with contributor Josh Taylor’s drum blasts. While Unsustainable Social Condition‘s A-side tends to approach the harsh noise side of things with Purse’s electronics doing much of the grunt work, Taylor’s drumming adds a significant amount to the B-side’s tracks, bringing brute force to the electronic crackles, static swirls, and occasional contact mic-style tinnitus.

These tracks will fly by, making it hard to decipher exactly the methods Purse is employing on this release. Like cut-up harsh noise, this release runs through a gamut of sounds, an excellent introduction to the madness inherent on any one Unsustainable Social Condition release. At only ten minutes, this cassette warrants repetitive plays, and it’s a perfectly chaotic release that should please fans of harsh noise and noise-laden grindcore.

Street Sects – The Morning After the Night We Raped Death (7″, Not On Label)

Industrial, Music, Noise, Noisecore, Review

the morning after the night we raped death

Street Sects is the duo Leo Ashline and Shaun Ringsmuth, performing loop-based noise/grindcore. It’s the sort of thing that works well when paired with the aggressive vocal delivery on this five minute 7″ record. The Morning After the Night We Raped Death is the first in a five-series set of LPs titled “Gentrification: A Serial Album,” and on this vinyl, you get the double-sided singles plus an insert with an essay.

The first track, “Bliss,” hammers away at the listener for just under two minutes. Street Sects define their motif on this track, punctuating moments with blurry, seared vocals. The loops are utilized to their full potential, at times stretched to give a 4/4 time signature while remaining significantly raucous, then switching to considerably faster speeds for a breakneck finish. It’s difficult to tell what is used for each loop; they kind of meld into one another, and some of them may be so damaged as to be indecipherable. But it’s fun to listen to “Bliss” and attempt to figure out what’s being used, whether it be a simple guitar line sped up and chopped or actual songs mangled up to form the basis of a new, noisier track.

Side B, “Fate On Her Knees,” is a little slower, a little less noisy. The first part of the track takes on an industrial march of sorts, the loops toned down to highlight the percussion over the mass of sound. There are a lot of vocal differences here, and I’m not sure if that’s due to manipulation – speeding up and slowing down pre-recorded vocals or something else entirely – but it makes a really interesting listen that, again, makes the audience wonder what’s going on behind what we can actually hear.

Street Sects is a wonderfully interesting project, and their five-part “Gentrification” series is well on its way. At this time, part two is done and up on their Bandcamp. In the meantime, you can check out both of those works here.

recommended

Pissdeads – Proud and Full of Joy (3″ Biz CD-R, Serious Business)

Noise, Noisecore, Review

proud and full of joy

If ever there was a title unsuitable for a Pissdeads album, Proud and Full of Joy really nails it. Pissdeads have little pride or joy in their sound on this release from Serious Business; instead, they play through the noise, the bad garage recordings, the pain.

This is where the biz CD-R format really shines. Though the discs only hold five minutes of content, Pissdeads pack it in there, getting in eight tracks before the close of the album. It’s grind/power violence at its rawest and fastest, with Popster destroying the drums and vocal cords while Tumus gives just the hint of bass.

That is, at least in the first three recordings. “Death Destroyer,” “Hurt the Stupid,” and “Scumfinder General” are very rough recordings, the kind where it’s difficult to make out much besides the drums and cymbals. The bass comes through nicely at moments, and in “Scumfinder General” they find time to slow things down for a sludgy interlude.

It’s the last five tracks that explode, though. These are loudly mastered, a direct opposite to the first cuts. Again, the bass is hidden behind cymbals and screams, but that’s the point – there’s actually little to make out from the bass anyway besides a constant barrage of frayed sounds. Pissdeads dominate on those final tracks, making this well worth the commitment.

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

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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.

Breakdancing Ronald Reagan – The Anti-Thurston: Complete (CD-R, Baby Smasher Records)

dark ambient, Drone, harsh noise, harsh noise wall, Music, Noise, Noisecore, power electronics, Review

There is so much Breakdancing Ronald Reagan on this disc that sometimes I can’t handle it. The Anti-Thurston: Complete collects about an hour and seventeen minutes worth of noise from splits and other releases that Breakdancing Ronal Reagan has been a part of; they’re all mashed together into one long track, and that makes for a raucous, sometimes uneven, listen.

It’s difficult to write up exactly where the artist goes on this disc, because there’s just so much of it. But Breakdancing Ronald Reagan hits almost every sub-genre of noise here, from harsh noise walls to synth work to harsh noise blasts, and it’s all just thrown together on a disc so haphazardly that it works.

Some of the cuts aren’t my favorite; I’m not a big fan of the MIDI-like trouncing Breakdancing Ronald Reagan has done with a Super Mario theme. But that’s the thing with The Ant-Thurston: Complete – some aspects of this release are bound to ostracize some listeners. You listen to the ones you like.

But the way the disc is set up – no tracks, just mush – is difficult for me to listen to, because if I want to skip over a track I’m not particularly fond of, I can’t without having to shuffle through and guess where I want to end up. And The Anti-Thurston: Complete is a long release; it’s not something most people will want to sit down and listen to for the entirety, myself included.

Though I can’t see myself listening to this often, I still must praise Breakdancing Ronald Reagan for hitting so much territory on this release: I’m not kidding when I say there’s nearly every sub-genre represented here. It doesn’t always work, and it’s too long-winded as one track for my taste, but there are certainly those that will find much to love on this CD-R.

Arvo Zylo – 333 (CD-R, No Part of It)

dark ambient, Drone, Music, Noise, Noisecore, Review

333 is made up of simply a Yamaha RX1 sequencer and some requisite sounds along with it, but 333 doesn’t feel as limited as it really is. Arvo Zylo takes the listener through so many different areas of noise that, even during one track, it’s hard to express just where the track has been, and it’s also impossible to really gauge where it could go. That’s a great feeling, and 333 is full of it – the three tracks on here, ranging from a half an hour to 15 minutes or so, are totally different in structure and feeling, although they all have that signature sound of the RX1.

First track “Quicksand Eggs of a Beaten Pathos” is the longest, and it’s easily the best way to understand what Arvo Zylo is doing on this release. There are moments of digital-like trip-hop, rhythms that shudder and melt. There’s lots of synthesizer shuffling, but that’s really limiting how many different types of sounds Arvo Zylo gets out of the track; at times, the rhythms shift from music to noise, with little strands of static and percussive elements keeping a hold of the ideas, or at other times, bass-heavy beats and stuttery staccatos create a march of sound. It’s easily the best showcase of 333 because of its length, but it’s also a good song altogether, and 333 could have stood on its own with just this track.

It doesn’t though. “Deadbeat Deluxe” is similar to the first, but it’s more like a crazy carnival ride gone wrong with all of its strange synth twists and turns and odd beat structures. There are more additions to the sounds, and a good groove to boot. “Plasthma” is mostly minimal beatwork with less emphasis on bass, but towards the end it adds a really awesome, moody synth line to it that reminds me of old Tales from the Darkside themes. Very nice work indeed.

It’s another solid showing from Arvo Zylo, and very different at that. It might not appeal to those who don’t like more rhythmic noise, but the amount of sound generated from the limited instrumental use is quite amazing, and it also works well with the harmonies that 333 displays.

Melted Cassettes – The Real Sounds From Hell Recordings (CD, Mind Flare Media)

EBM, Glitch, Music, Noise, Noisecore, Review

The duo of Melted Cassettes combine trashed synths with other noises for a decidedly rhythmic take on noise music; there’s also an emphasis on screamed, whorled vocals that pepper each track, adding their own type of unique sound to the amalgamation.

“Shining Figures” is easily the best track on The Real Sounds From Hell Recordings, a Locust-ian tune that features no distinguishable real instruments at all. Instead it churns into a rhythmic mess of downtempo glitch, as if a crusty grind band were playing with busted, fucked synths instead of guitar.

With that said, none of the other songs on this disc reach the same crescendo as “Shining Figures.” They’re still good, but they fall into the same patterns and aren’t done to as well as the that elevated track. The vocals swirl within the crunchy glitches, harping with synths and programming that are mostly catchy. “Plastic Bubble Byter” is another excellent cut, but these good ones are often frustrated by “Lor” or “Sounds From Hell Vol. 2”, which never quite click.

But The Real Sounds From Hell Recordings does end on another good note with the noisy “Xzrzrz” that differs from the other tracks with little rhythm or vocal sounds; there’s a good zippy sound to it, and it shows that Melted Cassettes don’t need to yell over their grinding music.

All told, The Real Sounds From Hell Recordings is a promising record if you’re into the sort of noise rock that The Locust or Daughters play; this time, though Melted Cassettes aren’t playing with recognizable instruments. Sometimes they don’t hit with their pseudo-dance beats, but “Shining Figures” is definitely worth a listen.

Peopling – Peopling EP (CD, Not On Label)

Drone, Glitch, Noise, Noisecore, Review

Peopling is like the little brother of Lightning Bolt; it’s a project that has a similar sense of noise rock stylings, with bass-like riffs that sink into hooks just like that other band. Yet Peopling has tried to pull away from Lightning Bolt’s adherence to music; instead, Peopling EP isn’t afraid to go from a looping rhythmic song to a track full of harsh feedback, and Peopling’s also not going to stop infusing any “songs” with a lot of noise. It makes for a very good, very short combination on this album.

Tracks like “Come Home Eccentric” and “Fiji” start out making a ruckus, but they move right into rhythmic territory with synth and guitar lines. You’ll hear licks of acoustic guitar on “Summer Such and Such”, as well as vocals that sound like they’ve been muffled through a megaphone. There’s good compositions on Peopling EP, although most of the time the songs are quite repetitive.

Then there are tracks like “Regprog”, which are noisier rhythmic loops. The aforementioned track actually features a very high-pitched feedback squeal that hurts the ears after a while. Peopling often combine both into song, and it works fairly well – a noisier take on noise rock, with more emphasis on the electronic bits than the rock itself. Still, Peopling plays the song formulas out well, even if their compositions are a little stiff.

Disleksick/Humanextermination Project – Split (C30, Hair On My Food Tapes & Records)

Noise, Noisecore, Review, Shitcore

On this cassette we’ve a got a side of noisecore and a side of I’m-not-sure-core. Disleksick plays a familiar type of shitgrind in the same stylings of other releases from Hair On My Food, while Humanextermination Project gives a side-long track of heavy repetition of sound samples. If you don’t like your noise annoying, you won’t like this tape at all, so let’s get that right out of the way.

Disleksick start things off with “No Melody/No Talent”. Neither of those attributions are quite true; the track does have a few places where noisy melodies do take shape, and they’re actually quite good when they appear. They also seem to have some talent, or at least stamina – it takes a lot of fucking energy to sound this angry, pissed, or drunk. Whatever the case, this lengthy track is split into areas where there’s a lot of blast-beating, then some lulls with guitar feedback galore leading into new areas of “song”, while the vocalist tends to exert a lot of moans and dying sounds over the instrumentals. It all sounds like a blast to watch and listen to live, even if the track does get a little sloppier than even normal noisecore towards the end.

On side B we have Humanextermination Project with “Untitled”. It’s a side-long track of audio torture. There’s lots of hiss, some rumble in the background, and a very repetitive loop of two vocal clips, both of which get pretty fucking annoying during the 15 minutes. Besides the crumbles and the musique concrete background sounds, which don’t sound like much simply because the vocal samples are so loud above the noise, there’s not a whole lot to like about what Humanextermination Project does, and I found it more annoying and a slightly lazy composition.

Though the Disleksick side of the split is pretty good, I’m not sure how often I will return to this cassette, simply because of the chore of having to sit through HEP’s side – I’ll probably play Disleksick, rewind that side, and start again. If I wanted to hear what Humanextermination Project offers on here, I’d find the vocal samples and a fan and put them on loop. Then again, I’ve never felt that urge to begin with.

Cheezface – Circumstantial Pestilence (CD, Mind Flare Media)

dark ambient, EBM, Glitch, Music, Noise, Noisecore, Review

As you can tell from the cover artwork and song titles on Circumstantial Pestilence, Cheezface is a particularly serious individual playing mature noise. At the end of “Fancy That, A Fire In Your Kitchen And Me Without My Pants”, there’s a sound sample of a man saying, “When she farts, it’s going to smell like…” Now you know what you’re getting into, if you didn’t realize it at first.

Honestly, though, I think Cheezface is doing himself a disservice with all of the ICP/pornogrind imagery he peppers his release with, since that sort of thing isn’t entirely well-regarded by the masses (myself included, and I put off listening to this album somewhat because of that I must admit). You see, Cheezface actually does the IDM/grindcore thing fairly well, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t really dig the ADD-addled spirals and cuts of samples that it’s known for.

There are some delightful little pieces of tracks on Circumstantial Pestilence, though; the first track’s drone gets you ready for a darker, more serious jaunt than one might expect. The second, “The Tokyo Sandblaster”, is programmed blasts of grindcore, violin samples, and even a sexy ’80s nightclub saxophone solo. “Gary Glitter Loves the Kids” is a good example of how Cheezface can write good poppy riffs with random digital noise.

It’s surprising how many different samples are included throughout the release, even moreso how good the drum programming is. It’s very nuanced, often with small bits that unobservant ears might not hear. Still, there are rhythmic tracks that just tend to float by unnoticed, like “Let Them Eat Urinal Cake” or “Doing Blow With Foghorn Leghorn”. The best on this end of things might be “Syntax Error Remix”, a MIDI-type atmospheric piece with flowing synth tones that works well until obliterated by drum beats.

The album ends with a five minute closer in five parts; it’s a good example of everything you might hear during the course of the album, and it helps summarize what Cheezface and Circumstantial Pestilence is – having fun with the ridiculousness of what you can do with noise, the areas where contrived bullshit can meet with more serious fare. Kick back a few beers and get down to this if it’s your sort of thing, because Cheezface does it well.