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.

Sissy Spacek – Brath (CD, Oxen)

harsh noise, Noise, noisegrind

Sissy Spacek is pretty much legendary in the noise genre, but even if you haven’t heard the band specifically, its member John Wiese should definitely ring familiar. The band has gone through a series of members in its lengthy run, but Brath finds Wiese working with drummer Charlie Mumma alone to create noisegrind out of squalls of electronics and percussive elements. The album comes as a nice professional release from Oxen.

This incarnation of Sissy Spacek finds the band shredding over two tracks of raucous, ragged grind. Brath is split into two parts, but ultimately there’s nothing to really distinguish one track over the other. Mumma delivers insane blast beats under squalls of electronics that are so blown-out that the actual rhythm and structure is lost in a whirlwind – occasionally, those beats come out, and often you can hear Mumma wailing away at cymbals or a ride, but a lot of the definition is lost in searing noise.

The growled vocals are a regular throughout the two pieces, hyperbolic deliveries that add to the absolute chaos and disintegration of traditional grindcore. Brath is similar to what one might hear if they stuck their head up to a jet engine – an overwhelming soundwave, along with the ticking and clicking of machinery working at maximum capacity.

And that’s why Brath is so enjoyable, an assault on the senses that forces the listener to get lost in the wall of sound created by the instrumentation. Attempt to follow Mumma’s drumming and find the logical pattern; struggle to figure out the repetitions in the pieces. It’s nearly impossible in these blasts of sound, and that keeps me coming back to Brath, listening to things I missed the first time around and blowing my ears out in the process. At only 25 minutes, Brath encourages the listener to put this thing on repeat.

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