Dodsmaskin – Fullstendig Brent (CD, Malignant Records)

harsh noise, power electronics, Uncategorized

Fullstendig Brent translates to «completely burnt»; «holocaust» in Norwegian according to the album’s interior insert, and the writing goes on to explain the ideas behind this full-length recording from Dodsmaskin. It’s meant as an interpretation of the Norwegian witch trials in the 17th century, and the five tracks offered on this album certainly do represent an aural history of that time.

The album is littered with burning sounds, from the first crackles of the opener
“Båldom” to the other tracks’ usage of static and more conventional power electronics synth rhythms to emphasize the thematic imagery of the witch trials. Dodsmaskin uses more ambient layers at first, allowing “Båldom” room to set the mournful atmosphere before “Heksetimen” breaks into a heavy power electronics lurch, the sounds of screaming women a cacophony in the background.

“Christoffer Orning” and “De Ti: 1621” sit comfortably in the middle, offering ambient sound effects like chanting throughout the opening minutes of the tracks and then breaking into a mountainous din; Dodsmaskin is comfortable crafting bleak and minimal tones, but his synth drones and physical effects, like shattering glass, add a theme of insurmountable odds to Fullstendig Brent.

Like its opening track, the album ends on a somber and mournful piano ballad with
“Dømt På Sitt Liv Til Ild Og Bål,” and thus ends a narrative told in audio from Dodsmaskin. Fullstendig Brent is a strong album even at its short running time, and anyone interested in the witch trials will definitely want to hear this soundscape of torture and terror from the 17th century.

Big Hole – Overwhelming & Collective Murder (3″ CD-R, Not on Label)

harsh noise, harsh noise wall, Uncategorized

Big Hole’s Overwhelming & Collective Murder is a 20-minute disc featuring one wall, and it starts out with a sound bite from Burden of Dreams, a documentary on the making of Werner Herzog’s film Fitzcarraldo. I’ll confess to knowing very little about either of those two things, but one thing I do know is that this sound clip is perfectly in tune to Big Hole’s oppressive ripping wall spanning the course of this album.

“Overwhelming & Collective Murder” begins with a subtler crackling static before the full wall takes effect, and it’s a nice way to showcase the focal tone before moving into the wall’s more atmospheric layering. When the full wall starts, it’s part of that crunchy crackle – which is nicely raucous and rather fast-paced, wriggling endlessly throughout the 20 minutes – along with a somewhat denser static tone that combines quite nicely, plus a higher-pitched texture that makes up all three areas of the wall.

It’s very easy to get lost in this wall despite its harshness, and I’ll confess to getting absorbed in it despite my attempts to keep attentive to its shiftings – after a while, all three of the textures blend so well together that I forgot where they began, and it’s a hypnotic and, as the title states, overwhelming listen that leaves the ears ringing. Big Hole’s release says to listen loudly, and that’s a dangerous request: it’s rewarding and also quite damaging, and that’s probably the point.

recommended

Transfiguration – Lovecraftian Rhetoric (C60, Existentiell)

Black metal, doom metal, Music, Review, Uncategorized

Transfiguration is the doom metal/black metal project of Cathal Rodgers, also the artist behind Spermacidal, Wereju, and more. Lovecraftian Rhetoric is the only release that I can find from this particular moniker, a slow-moving cassette from 2014 released on Existentiell; here, Transfiguration offers up three tracks influenced by the titular writer H.P. Lovecraft as well as Dante Alighieri, steeped in depression and mired in an ethereal muck. Both sides of this tape contain the same three tracks, making it easy for listeners to flip and repeat.

Purveyors of blackened doom will certainly enjoy Lovecraftian Rhetoric‘s often glacial pacing, with plodding tracks that reach the 9 minute mark almost every time. “Comedy Divine” keeps the same heavy bass thudding throughout with excellent depressive, melancholic synth patterns that shudder throughout the track. It’s an enveloping experience, and Transfiguration allows the notes to soar and sustain, holding them out like a wallowing wail. The vocals on this track, too, are more akin to black metal’s cries.

“Some Mute Inglorious Milton” centers more in doom territory, though, with heavy rhythmic riffs and a deeper-toned growl that echoes through the muddied recording. That murky sound is a boon to Transfiguration, creating a foggy atmosphere that makes these recordings – particularly Lovecraftian Rhetoric‘s second track – eerie and unnatural, a perfect fit to Lovecraft’s often indescribable settings.

The title track, “Lovecraftian Rhetoric,” takes on a similar tone, slowly paced with fairly simplistic drum beats and an overall synth tone that carries the track throughout. It’s another great doom offering from Transfiguration, but it also signals a problem some listeners may have with this tape: the tracks often meld together, especially at longer lengths, because of their similarities. For this reviewer, it’s not a bother considering how largely similar most doom tends to be anyway, with the differing tones elevating these tracks. But less focused listeners may find themselves struggling to pick out what makes each track distinct.

Still, Lovecraftian Rhetoric is an immensely enjoyable experience for those who like slow, funereal doom and black metal. Transfiguration has done some great work on this cassette, and it’s unfortunate that the project hasn’t – to my knowledge – released anything else yet. You can check out this release on the Existentiell Bandcamp page!

Naughty/Sloth – Split (C20, Sloth of Northeast Ohio)

harsh noise wall, Review, Uncategorized

Naughty and Sloth get together for a strange mix of harsh noise walls on this split C20, a quick one-and-done for each artist. Naughty is the harsh noise wall project of Charlotte Duchene, a project devoted eroticism and beauty; Sloth is a bit more of a mystery, with the project’s Bandcamp page featuring a slew of releases with crazy titles and often perverse imagery. Here, the two offer two side-long walls, with Naughty’s being a bit more rigid to the HNW format and Sloth morphing a song into a wall.

Naughty is on the first side with the track “Join At In the Bottom of the Swimming Pool”; clearly, there’s some kind of typo with that title, although since I don’t want to assume anything I won’t correct it and will use the title as written on the case (clarification from Naughty: it’s “Join Me At the Bottom of the Swimming Pool”). This is a ten-minute track heavy on the bass, with a low-end rumble throughout and deep crumbling static textures. It’s more ambient than harsh, actually, and it’s quite easy to fall into the rhythms of the static throughout; since this a deeper, more sonorous track, the textures crumble into each other, with little space within the static crackle. It’s good work, one that fans of nuanced HNW will enjoy.

The second side features Sloth (here just Sloth instead of his dual monikers Sloth of Gulf Coast Florida or Sloth of Northeast Ohio), and the track begins with a homemade song that he’s created. It’s a blurry, bleary eulogy to death metal, as one might expect from the title “Death-Metal Died”; there’s a very subtle melody that’s pretty indecipherable, along with singing and some barking lyrics; this gives way to the wall quite quickly, which almost feels like a Paulstretched version the original song. Ultimately, this creates a strange guitar-like drone that’s paired with a lot of crackling static and even some background textures that repeat over the track’s ten minutes. It’s not a traditional wall with static and bass rumbles, but it’s an interesting track for sure that contains a lot of areas for listeners to lock into.

The two tracks on this split are completely different from the other, but that’s kind of what you’d like to see based on two artists doing their own separate works. Both projects offer up good walls, and the major differences with these two harsh noise wall artists provides an eclectic twenty minutes.

Tales of the Bloody Bloody Killer – The Six Six Sixers (CD-R, Petite Soles)

ambient noise wall, harsh noise, harsh noise wall, Noise, Review, Uncategorized

Tales of the Bloody Bloody Killer is a project from Scott Kindberg, also the man behind the Petite Soles label, She Walks Crooked, and half of Ginger Cortes. The Six Six Sixers sound is primarily harsh noise wall, but its two tracks consist of so many shifts and transitions that the wall tendencies ebb and flow as the soundscape develops.

The first track is called “Fleischer Knife Co.”, and it’s the longer of the two tracks at around 18 minutes. TotBBK begins with a wall, blown-out and heavy with a lot of static crackle at the forefront with the hum of electronics in the background, and that continues well over five minutes before fading out to transition into the sound of sharpening knives. Truly, this is a disturbing interlude that is often difficult to listen to depending on how grating the sound of metal sliding across metal is to the individual listener; eventually, the knife-sharpening gains demented and warbly carnival music, with slide whistles and the whole nine yards. A wall begins yet again to end the track, this time extremely harsh with searing static blistering the listener.

“Fleischer Knife Co.” is an entertaining track, but structurally I find the use of the knife-sharpening in the middle of the wall somewhat thematically confusing. I’m not exactly sure why it was bookended by walls, and so I’m left wondering the significance of this choice.

The previous static leads directly into “Blackfire” with no warning, a fantastic transition that gets me every time I hear it – there’s nothing to indicate that this is a new track until the listener realizes that the harshness of “Fleischer Knife Co.”‘s ending has been replaced with a pleasant static crackle and subtle bass textures. This one’s more traditionally HNW (and, really, ANW), and it continues for about 7 minutes.

This is a short but expressive release from Tales from the Bloody Bloody Killer, and the two tracks offered here are quite enjoyable despite my own inability to decipher the context of the first cut.

New release: Lurid Hallway – Door Three available

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While Memory Wave Transmission has functioned (or malfunctioned) first and foremost as a review outlet, I do sometimes release some of my own work under its title. Therefore, I wanted to draw your attention to a new(ish) release that I’m selling now from my project Lurid Hallway.

Lurid Hallway is a continuing series of harsh noise wall releases themed around specific films. These walls contain samples from the film in question and are often partially rhythmic; you may notice dialogue samples or sounds from the film, and artwork is almost always a veiled image from a scene.

For Door Three, which was completed nearly two years ago, I took a sample from a popular horror film that has one of the 50 states in its title. Some of this wall comes from the film’s soundtrack itself, which you’ll hear making up most of the foreground; the background also contains some vocal effects that come and go throughout the 40-minute runtime. Allow yourself to be taken in by this trance. A warning to HNW enthusiasts: this isn’t a traditionally massive or abrasive wall.

This release comes with cover and back cover printed on red cardstock, and includes a small obfuscated image from the inspiring film. It’s packaged in a plastic sleeve. This is limited to six CD-Rs: three on white-hub CD-Rs, and three on double-black CD-Rs. You can purchase from my Tictail site for $7 ppd in the US.

Buy now

Sindre Bjerga – A Possible Outbreak of Clinical Hysteria (3″ Biz CD-R, Serious Business)

Uncategorized

sindre bjerga a possible outbreak

Sindre Bjerga’s offering for Serious Business is… odd. Strange. A little different. It’s certainly a rather weird choice of two tracks to put on a very short 5-minute CD-R, that’s for sure. Let’s get right to it, because I’m not exactly sure what to make of this disc; I haven’t heard Sindre Bjerga before, so I don’t know the style at all.

A Possible Outbreak of Clinical Hysteria starts off with a one minute title track, of a man growling and another man talking. It reminds me a little bit of old Hammer films, of a monster like Igor in a castle; other than that, though, I’m not really sure what all it adds to this release except to give a context to the title of the release. After that is the longer but not much meatier “Tape Deck Battles with Microphone,” which sounds pretty much exactly like the title suggests. There’s a whirring from the tape deck, some punctuated feedback occasionally, and towards the end, a recorded woman’s voice greeting the listener with “Hello.”

It’s interesting, but at the same time it’s very sparse. For those who don’t know Sindre Bjerga’s output, this is probably not the best place to start. With such a short length, it’s hard to get a grasp on what exactly the artist does besides dabble with things. But sometimes that’s the best sort of experimentation. I’ll leave it up to the listener to make that distinction.

I think Serious Business still has some.

Ilsa Koch – Ilsa Frost (C30, Winter Solace Productions)

Drone, Noise, Review, Uncategorized

ilsa koch ilsa frost

Ilsa Koch is the noise project of the owner of Winter Solace; he has a few releases under his belt, mostly all on Winter Solace, and this single-sided cassette is no different. Ilsa Frost was originally released without a label as a demo, but then found re-release on Winter Solace as a sort of recycled tape. The cassette I received had a handwritten J-card with artwork from another Winter Solstice release that was whited out.

Only one track on this C30, filling out only the A-side with a fifteen minute jam that uses a black metal song as source material as well as guitar, sped-up vocal loops, and electric hissing. It begins with a simple guitar medley, some marching and German orders, and some ballroom music before transforming into a noisy hum of squeaks along with the strummed, melancholy guitar. Eventually this all disappears rather abruptly to make room for percussive loops of sound.

Ilsa Frost is a short listen, but its one track makes use of Ilsa Koch’s atmospheric sound. The loop used is rhythmic but aggressive, and the repeated effects that pair up with it work well to create a hypnotic, manic work.

If you missed this tape the first time, go see if you can pick it up from Winter Solace Productions now.

Lys – Klaida Ir Užuojauta (C46, Terror)

Drone, harsh noise, Noise, Review, Uncategorized

LYS klaida ir

Lys is Vilius Šiaulys from Lithuanian, but other than that there’s not more I can give you about this artist. Releases have been fairly sparse; Klaida Ir Užuojauta was released in 2012, and the last ones that I can find before that were in 2011 and 2004. While not as prolific as others in the noise genre, Lys has given us a tape of three longer tracks spanning nearly fifty minutes, minutely droning and looping throughout.

The first track takes up the entire length of side A, known as “Užuojauta.” It’s a massive growing drone, first beginning with the kinds of things you would expect – slight rumbles, a very airy flowing foreground – then building to climax. It adds very small concepts to the layers, like barely audible stuttering textures or wind-swept moments, clicks and clatters that come and go throughout.

The second side is split into two tracks. The first is “Klaida,” which is a deep texture of a higher-pitched squall paired with different aberrations in the sound; at times Lys will include a wavering treble crumble, others he allows the original drone to sit alone. “Trys” is a hypnotic drone that features a slight synth-like sustained note in the background with short punctuations of a horn texture. It builds up, the drone surging forward.

In short, Klaida Ir Užuojauta is a drone album that doesn’t adhere to general rules. It’s a release where Lys has branched out from the simple riffs of allowing noisy shimmering sounds to repeat unimpeded; the three tracks here are layered and complex, and a joy to listen to.

New imprint: Brute Canals

Uncategorized

cropped-brute-canals1

Memory Wave Transmission has been around for a while now – I think nearly three years of consistent reviewing – and I’ve covered a lot of harsh noise, drone, and even some black metal. I’ve been looking to expand into other territory as well (and I did for one post, except I just didn’t have the motivation to get that blog going), but Memory Wave Transmission is not the right place for review output for death metal, grindcore, hardcore, and other areas of genre music that don’t include noise.

I’ve been going back and forth wondering if I should create a new imprint for the blog, and I’ve decided to continue forging forward with a new blog known as Brute Canals. It’ll be focused on hardcore, death metal, black metal, and all of those other niche genres that don’t really have a home here.

If you’d like to submit, by all means get in contact with me.