Facialmess – You Trip Me Up (C20, No Rent Records)

harsh noise, Noise, Review

Facialmess is the harsh noise project of Kenny Sanderson, who uses a lot of cut-up sounds and techniques in his works to create an intricate, detailed document of noise which is often incredibly harsh in its output. On his most recent release for No Rent Records, You Trip Me Up, Facialmess changes his output a little bit, opting for a more refined palette of sounds that don’t necessarily range a wide gamut but instead utilize many ambient passages to create tension and explosive effects.

This C20 is split into two ten-minute sides. The first track is titled “Habit of Thinking,” and it begins with an ambient swirl of sound along with clicks and taps from perhaps a contact mic before launching into a tour de force of cut-up harsh noise. Feedback spurts and glitchy rhythms form the soundtrack, with Facialmess dropping the noise to allow that ambient texture room to break up the onslaught. If you’ve heard cut-up noise before, you know that it can ultimately become redundant – the listener can only go so long hearing multiple tracks of unrefined noise before it all begins to blend together. But Facialmess’ use of space and sparing the listener from a smorgasbord of the same noises makes both of “Habit of Thinking” and the second track, “Pessimism Without Compromise,” into a surprisingly agile release that is often chilling and suspenseful.

That second track uses a similar sequencing, though without the ambient texturing. Instead, harsh noise alternates with a sinister synth riff that leads to crumbling, pounding textures that move around the balance, opening up into intense percussive noise blasts and feedback. I love Facialmess’ use of stereo here, and “Pessimism Without Compromise” adds detail to what could just be a barrage of harsh noise.

You Trip Me Up is a huge success, and probably one of my favorite cut-up harsh noise releases thus far because of its nuance and dynamism. Unfortunately, though, this product is sold out from No Rent Records, so you’ll have to find it secondhand or listen on Bandcamp.


Facialmess/Areyfu – Murder Dieting (MP3, Grindcore Karaoke)

harsh noise, Noise, Review


Here’s a perfect matchup of harsh noise from the online label Grindcore Karaoke. Murder Dieting is four tracks of cut-up noise, two from Facialmess and two from Areyfu, both of whom have released some excellent harsh noise records in the past. If you’re not familiar with the type of sounds that both artists release, this digital album is a perfect example of them at their harshest.

The first onslaught is from Facialmess with “Stench of Profiteering”. The structure of the track is sort of similar to how a lengthy grindcore track might be if it weren’t full of blast beats but instead a huge and distorted blast of electronics and junk metal. At more than 9 minutes apiece, both tracks are chaotic, with sharp, cutting bursts of noise truncated into sections by quieter vocal samples and noisy interludes. These portions allow Facialmess to focus on distributing annihilative clashes of sound while also keeping the listener off-guard.

The interludes don’t always work, and sometimes I found myself wishing that Facialmess would cut out some of the quieter moments for longer segments of crunchy, assaulting electronics. But even so, Facialmess’s insane turns are surprising, and the tracks are really unpredictable in their scope.

Areyfu’s side is similar in nature, although he allows the harsh noise bits a longer time to breathe. In between the bursts of “Defiler” is a lingering ambience, and often Areyfu returns to the same noises that he’s been building on even after the quieter moments. There’s a more digital, looping quality to his work too – a lot of whirrs pepper the track, and underneath is a subtle morse code-like simmering.”The Wall Garden” continues a similar assault throughout the course of the track, keeping a hollowed-out buzz underneath its noise smatterings.

Both sides are very good harsh noise, but again, maximum enjoyment comes from a respect of the cut-up genre. Murder Dieting isn’t a surprising release from either artist, but it is a great pairing and a good showcase of what they can do with blasts of noise and some ambient interludes.

Bonesfield/Facialmess – Sabotage (C52, Phage Tapes)

Drone, harsh noise wall, Music, Noise, Review

Bonesfield is a self-proclaimed harsh noise unit from Spain, and Facialmess is a cut-up artist from Japan. The two seem to be a perfect pairing for a split, as Sabotage consists of around 50 minutes of chaotic, aggressively-mixed noise full of loops, screaming electronics, and short, flowing tracks that run the gamut of noise sounds. The tape comes in a slick arigato pack, with a nice orange color fleshing out the laid-back tones of black and brown. A complicated mechanical design runs the length of the package, and though I’m not exactly sure what it is, it looks stylish and blends with the sounds of the tape.

Side A houses eight shorter-length tracks from Bonesfield, who focuses on higher-end static pummeling mixed with very twitchy manipulations. Often, and perhaps most enjoyable, Bonesfield layers loops into the tracks, and even plays with the rhythms of those loops to various effects. The short lengths of these tracks, coupled with the jumping electronic cuts, produces a very spastic effect on the listener, and these tracks rarely linger in one area before completely shifting the sound to a different idea. At times, the tracks merge so quickly together that it’s somewhat difficult to tell which track is which, blending the set into one jumble of harsh, quick cuts. But that’s not a bad thing, and the process with which Bonesfield composes his tracks warrants this type of erratic behavior. And it’s not as though Bonesfield is throwing out the baby with the bathwater on all of the tracks – there’s a soundscaped theme running through each track, with a consistent base of fuzz running underneath it all to center the listener.

The Facialmess side utilizes the same sort of chaotic, jumpy sound that Bonesfield does, although it does seem to be a little harsher in its source material. “Men of the City” opens with a sound sample that draws the listener in, only to have it obliterated by a heavy slab of harsh electronics. These jump cuts happen often, especially on this track, as Facialmess continues to slip speech samples in with the noise. It’s a bit difficult to listen intently to the samples, as the quickness of the transition doesn’t allow much time for the brain to process the sample, but the choppiness of the sound is nicely disorienting. They also allow the tracks to merge within each other, as it’s difficult to tell track changes with Facialmess’ stop-starts and caustic bursts of sound. It all makes for an extreme listen, one that somewhat requires the listener to remain a passenger on the artist’s ride. Too much thought on the noises produced and the sample choices means missing out on the experience.

The two artists on Sabotage know their textures, and the tracks featured make good use of varied sounds that meld together, and, conversely, some that intentionally don’t. It’s certainly a lot to take in at once, but the nuances in the tones and the harsh nature of the cuts makes this a really intense and enjoyable release.

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