Richard Ramirez/Black Leather Jesus – Scrapyard (CD, Phage Tapes/R.O.N.F Records)

harsh noise, Industrial, Noise, Review


Scrapyard was originally released in 1995 with a limited run on vinyl, and as has been the custom for much of BlackLeather Jesus’ earlier work, the album has been re-released on Phage Tapes with a more attainable number. The disc features all three of the original tracks, with two cuts from Ramirez and one longer track from the ensemble Black Leather Jesus. There’s also an additional, new track from Ramirez, which adds a bit extra for those who already own the original.
The Richard Ramirez tracks are extremely recognizable, certainly reminiscent of his early work in harsh noise. “The Collapse of an Industry Long Forgotten” is mostly cut-up work, scrap electronics writhing together, with shards of static and twirls of feedback oscillating together. Occasional rhythms stay for only a minute before Ramirez tweaks the sound, and there’s a more chaotic approach to his early work here; it’s also quite a bit less refined than later projects, even in the setup, which seems very minimal here. Overall, the first tracks pretty standard harsh noise fare, with much of the shifts being subtle knob tweaks or static shudders that trade back and forth between feedback bursts.
“Male Nudity Among American Wreckage” is similar in style to the previous track, but it’s a bit more structured, keeping defined tones longer than its predecessor for a less-varied but more rewarding track. Ramirez keeps some of the churning static longer, adds an incessant beeping sound, and even moves the noise amongst different speakers, making this an experiment that finds Ramirez capturing a more dynamic sound. It’s still very jumpy, but it manage to return to the same themes throughout. There’s even some interesting vocal sample work, decomposed and twisted into small bits of repeated bursts. It seems a prelude to the porn samples Ramirez uses on the new recording on this disc.
Black Leather Jesus get one track on the disc, the longest-running “Human Connection (An Obscene Turn of Events)”. If you know the noise act, you know their sound often combines industrial scrap sounds with harsh noise, and this track is no different. The sound seems a little pared back, with a rumbly bass filling the void while screams, electronics, and even some guitar-like fiddling progress in front. There’s a lot going on during the track, and that’s thanks to the myriad members that make up the project; each gets a substantial role here, and the twenty minutes of the track are nearly filled with different sounds throughout.
And finally, there’s the new addition to Scrapyard from Ramirez titled “Just Like Me”. Like Ramirez’s newer solo stuff, the track begins with a lengthy gay porn sample; although that is the end of the explicit content, if you’re not comfortable with that kind of thing (for any reason), I would suggest staying away from this track, and especially at work, since it does get pretty dirty. Nevertheless, the track has the best mastery on the album,and it’s also the most original piece. Ramirez uses his background in walls to create a subtly moving piece of harsh noise that really emphasizes cut-up sound; the bulk of the track has a real junk metal sound to it, with the electronics used sounding like they were heavily deconstructed and recorded through a terribly scratchy contact mic. With that said, it’s an excellent piece of noise, and it’s so interesting to compare the changes in Ramirez’s sound and note the growth of this remarkable artist.
But while the last track on this split is spot-on, that doesn’t make Scrapyard enough to recommend to those who already have the original LP. To be honest, the original tracks are only sub-par from both artists; I would recommend, however, for those who haven’t heard this to pick up the new edition.

Mixturizer – Siete Patologias (CD, R.O.N.F. Records)

harsh noise, harsh noise wall, Industrial, Noise, Review

Manual Cubas, owner and operator of R.O.N.F. Records, has a couple of noise projects. One is Transductor, a harsh noise wall project that shared a tape with Release Helen Rytka. The other is Mixturizer, a more industrial-tinged harsh noise project. Siete Patologias (which I believe translates to something like “Seven Illnesses”?) has been in the works for three years, with bits and pieces being reworked from 2009 to 2011. The CD comes in a cardboard sleeve with original collage artwork in an insert, along with a picture disc that looks like a circular saw blade.

It’s fitting that Siete Patologias is symbolically a saw blade, because the noise on the disc is nothing short of raucous, uncomfortably harsh outputs of cutting, scraping noise. The reason I label it industrial noise is because Mixturizer’s sounds tend to resemble the workings of a sawmill grinding out bits of wood and dust until nothing is left of the base product.

While most of the seven tracks here resemble each other in structure, the sounds that make up these textured blasts of noise are all quite varied. There are a lot of layers that Mixturizer assembles and then deconstructs; often, tracks take on walls of static sound while harsh noise is twisted and produced underneath. There’s often a schizophrenic nature to it, where Mixturizer drops certain sounds in order to highlight little points of noise. This is especially apparent on the frenzied “V”, which features one of the harshest tracks on the disc.

Another punctuated track is the final “VII,” which sees Mixturizer building a crescendo of sound out of a low droning tone. Syncopated noise ebbs and flows around this drone, which continues to increase in texture and volume until a climactic finale of unending cacophony.

Siete Patologias is without a doubt a debacle of sound, a festival of harsh sounds generated together and highlighted on each of the seven tracks. It’s about an hour of this sort of glorious sonic torture, and it’s both exhausting and extremely rewarding after the disc ends.

Mixturizer – Siete Patologias out now on RONF Records

News, Noise

Mixturizer, a noise project helmed by Manuel Cubas of RONF Records, has released a new album titled Siete Patologias on the aforementioned label. The release is a factory-pressed CD in a cardboard sleeve with 70 minutes of harsh noise. The project has been in the works since 2009 and encompasses work from 2009 to 2011. From the press release:

“Purely analog executed, effect units, machines, cheap odd mics, feedback, metal junk, voice, body and soul… Variated, ranging from lo-fi to brightness, from dynamic to static, from detailed to brutalist, from chaotic to structured, hopeless, restless, undogmatic, straight to the sick point… “

You can pick Siete Patologias up now from RONF at the site for 9 euro.

Skinmask’s Reinstallment of Harmony out now on R.O.N.F

harsh noise, News, Noise

The enigmatically-named R.O.N.F Records has recently released a new mini-CD-R from power electronics act Skinmask, a project based in the Netherlands. The mini-disc holds 20 minutes of harsh power electronics and is available for 7 euro Europe/8 euro rest of world, and add to that 2.50 euro for registered shipping.

Click here for sound clips and to order.

Release Helen Rytka/Transductor – Stranglehold/E.L.F.N (C46, R.O.N.F Records)

harsh noise wall, Noise, Review

Release Helen Rytka is a harsh noise wall project from Richard Ramirez (Werewolf Jerusalem, Black Leather Jesus – you know the drill) and Nicole Dirge (Adult Crash Unit and various Ramirez-partnered projects). Transductor is Manuel M. Cubas, owner and operator of R.O.N.F Records, and “E.L.F.N” appears to be the only track under that moniker. The cassette is forty-six minutes stretched over two twenty-minute walls, full of crackling, rumbling, crunchy goodness.

“Stranglehold” takes up the entirety of side A, a relatively unchanging wall that feels a bit sparse. There’s some slower static crunch that gives the wall a sort of syncopation and crispness, and a background rumble and crumble that is constant throughout the track. But the most interesting aspect of “Stranglehold” is the incessant drone behind the static; it’s almost like an echo of the static that gives a sort of higher-register hum. Occasional bouts of static seem to alter, but for the most part, this lengthy track rarely steps away from the original wall. Yet the track is well worth the twenty minutes spent on it, and it feels shorter because of its hypnotic effect. It’s not a mammoth wall, but its crumbling, paced static is mesmerizing.

Transductor follows up with a similar themed track, “E.L.F.N”, which contains a lot of the same pitches of noise as “Stranglehold” but with a twist. The track begins with a sample of a person walking and a dog barking, and it unexpectedly jumps into a wall that’s very loudly mastered. It’s a great delayed opening to the wall, though, and I’m a sucker for those instances where the listener is caught off guard until the static smashes them in the face. Here is definitely the case from Transductor, who hits hard from the beginning and maintains the static rumbles. The track wouldn’t be as successful as it is by just sticking to the rigid wall sound it opens with, however; it’s too familiar for that. But Transductor simply incorporates tendrils of feedback at random times that add a change and depth to the sound. What at first seems like an error recurs again and again, and I really enjoyed the simplicity with which the wall could be interrupted by high pitches.

You know if you like HNW or not. These tracks rarely change. If you’re not a fan of that style of militant noise, you won’t like this. But if you like Ramirez’s work, or looking for the subtle changes in walls and the strange illusions that harsh noise walls can create, these are certainly quality walls.

Buy from R.O.N.F Records