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.

KP Transmission/ Омутъ Мора – Split (C60, Ciel Bleu et Petits Oiseaux Records)

ambient, dark ambient, Noise, Review

Honestly, I don’t know much about KP Transmission or Омутъ Мора  besides what I can get from the Internet. KP Transmission is Karina Kazaryan from Moscow and Siberia, a dark ambient and self-described illbient artist; Омутъ Мора (AKA Omut Mora) is a Russian experimental/dark ambient/folk project as described by the artist’s VK profile. KP Transmission has had a couple of releases, mostly splits, and over the years Омутъ Мора has racked up a number of album credits. On this tape split on Ciel Bleu et Petits Oiseaux Records, they both spend about 13 minutes per side.

First up is KP Transmission, and it’s clear how she fits into the illbient subgenre tag; ignorant about what that was, I did a search of the tag to find it was first created to characterize Brooklyn DJs in the 1990s, describing a trend in ambient music that features both ambient atmospheric sounds and accompanying beats. KP Transmission works in dark, noisy textures, sometimes less ambient than they are droning and subtly harsh. The first track, “Pranicheskaya Ataka”, features a rumbling dark tone that marches forward, almost like the sound of a continuous roll on a snare drum with the snares untightened. There’s a quiet bass pulsation moving forward, and KP Transmission works in electronic alarums and gentle maneuverings to add rhythm to the drone.

Her next three tracks almost feel like continuations of each other. “Pristup I” and “Pristup II” are certainly titularly linked, but “Pristup II” has a direct lead-in to the vocal-tinged sounds of the longest track from KP Transmission, “Kain.” “Pristup I” is a crackling tone that continues to disassemble as KP Transmission unfurls ambient textures out of noise; then, “Pristup II” adds a layer of slicing feedback underneath it all that comes and goes within the rhythm.

“Kain” features the most open ambiance of the four tracks, seemingly incorporating found sounds like bird calls, spoken word, and lilting, ghostly melodies that sound slightly muffled; notably, this is a collaboration between the two artists, and it certainly feels very akin to the dual natures of these projects.

KP Transmission’s tracks are often enchanting, and it’s interesting to hear how she works her way through rhythm and noise. These aren’t particularly difficult tracks, and often they can be quite beautiful. But there’s a layer of darkness winding its way through the first pieces that I find particularly attractive.

Омутъ Мора encompasses a similar technique on the second side, starting with “Chernaya Astma.” That’s a crumbling bit of static that eventually morphs into a filtered ambient texture, quite like KP Transmission’s “Pristup” series. The other two tracks are a bit longer to allow for the ambiance sonic space. “Nedra” is a ringing, often shuddering warble that builds to a loud climax in its last minutes, ghostly and sometimes shrill but featuring solid movement throughout – though it ends a bit abruptly. The final track “Kak Cherv” opens with some muffled instrumentation before introducing more sustained notes and echoing plunks in the background. It’s quite a bit different than the previous ambient piece, with a wind instrument carrying a sloppy melody while reverb effects threaten to overtake the sound.

The biggest issue with this release is not the tracks themselves but the C60 tape it comes on; it leaves a lot of blank air towards the end of both sides, and I’m not really sure why that was chosen. Otherwise, though, this split from KP Transmission and Омутъ Мора is a great offering for fans of dark ambient and noise, deserving of a listen.

Flesh Coffin/Spermicidal – Split (C42, Idrone Park)

Black metal, harsh noise

Flesh Coffin has been reviewed quite heavily here on Memory Wave Transmission, and the reason is that Andreas Brandal is a fairly prolific artist. His blend of dark ambient harsh noise certainly highlights horror atmosphere, and it fits in well with Cathal Rodgers project Spermicidal and his industrial black metal noise. This untitled split, with all untitled tracks, features two from Flesh Coffin and three from Spermicidal for a bleak, harrowing listen.

Flesh Coffin starts things off with a track of junk noise and atmosphere. A sustained drone fills out the background of this track, wavering slightly here and there and also crescendoing at times with train horn trills but ultimately setting the tone for utter blackness. Clicks and clatters fill the foreground, adding texture that comes and goes as the drones escalate and shudder into a blast of static and unyielding harsh noise that effortlessly incorporates those early clicking textures. The second untitled track plays with searing high-pitched sounds, sometimes even so overblown that the noise drops entirely. But there are swirls of the usual windswept deep tones, with just a bit of crunchy static thrown in, that keep this track grounded in the Flesh Coffin ouvre. Both tracks are very much par with the canon of his noise, and good additions to it.

The Spermicidal side features three tracks of industrial black metal, sitting somewhere in between the traditional nature of the black metal genre and noisy power electronics. The project uses what sounds like programmed drum beats to add percussion, and amid the howling vocals, swirls of noise pepper the background. The first untitled track starts off with a lot of noisy sweeps of sound as the drums lead in to the more musical aspect of the track; echoing vocals and reverbed chords create an industrial surge that works well, often clouding the whole track in a haze.

It’s a technique Spermicidal uses throughout his three tracks, reappearing again with the downtempo second untitled track, swirling with droned and distorted chords and lots of layered fuzz, and then similarly in the final track. The one thing that feels somewhat overused on this side of the split is the drums, because they tend to feature the same type of rhythm in each track. It causes these songs to blend in a little too much, in the same way that industrial act Godflesh often suffers from the same standard percussive elements on every song.

Other than that, though, this split tape from Flesh Coffin and Spermicidal is deserving of your time and money. Brandal’s project consistently delivers moody harsh noise, and Spermicidal seems to have a good handle on the industrial black metal he’s delivering.

Church Slut/Naked Pyramid – Split (C45, Earthmover Records)

Drone, harsh noise, Noise, power electronics, Review

church slut naked pyramidChurch Slut and Naked Pyramid each share a side of this C45 split from Earthmover Records, a tape that, by artist names alone, might sound like something pornographic. No, there aren’t any moans and groans of sexual pleasure on this cassette but two heavy noise artists churning away on their electronic instruments. Church Slut is Brian Harvey, also known for his sludge/doom output in Griefhound, but this moniker finds him doing mostly noise destruction. Naked Pyramid features John Guttschall and Bob Troller from Atlantic City, New Jersey, a project I’m not too familiar with.

Church Slut is on Side A with six tracks that mostly run together without a break in the chaos. It begins with a lengthy drone of synth that the artist allows to drift somewhat aimlessly that doesn’t do much to introduce us to what Church Slut has to offer; rather, it’s sort of an unnecessary padding before the rumbles of the artist’s power electronics work begin. Church Slut’s offerings are better when they’re steeped in the harsh noise churnings that overtake the later tracks; there’s even some ripping vocals along with bass crunch. At times, unfortunate knob twiddling takes over in place of interesting noise progression, but after that first track there’s quite a bit of layering within these pieces that includes a lot of cut-up sounds, squalls, and bursts of static.

Next on Side B is Naked Pyramid with two tracks, both nearly around the ten minute mark. The first, “Indian Cabin Ruin”, begins with a droning track of guitar that soon incorporates electronics and oscillations, eventually some drum ‘n bass rhythms as well. There’s a lot of warbling in this collection of tracks, and second cut “Helter Shelter” features a warping loop of electronics and pounding that sounds like it could have been sourced from cymbals; this becomes a baseline for the duo to begin to layer feedback and other pieces of sounds overtop, but it does become a bit tiresome before the nearly nine minutes are up because of that repeating stutter.

Church Slut’s split with Naked Pyramid is a fairly good offering from both parties. It has a lot to offer including cut-up squalls from Harvey and Naked Pyramid’s brand of droning harsh noise, albeit with a few missteps on both sides. Still, it’s worth a listen from these two relatively new projects.

The Transplant Mountains/Chapels – Split (C54, House of Alchemy)

ambient, Drone, Music, Noise

transplant mountains chapels

This split from the Transplant Mountains and Chapels is a double-dose of odd drones and noise effects, entrenched in a strong sense of flowing rhythm. Justin Wiggan, Relmic Statue, Daniel Hadden, and Rob Savage make up the former group’s ensemble, while the latter is simply Adam Richards working solo.

The first side comes from the Transplant Mountains, called “So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World,” also part of their Tumblr page’s URL. It’s got a solid mix of sounds, from the dronier manipulations and sworls of noise to the hissing fuzz of static late in the track. But the best part of the lengthy track is Daniel Hadden’s saxophone, which lends the Transplant Mountains a sort of free-jazz tone that works well within their dreamy, fluid piece.

Chapels’ side, title “It Was Snowing and It Was Going to Snow (Decline),” locks into a droning groove early, with a synth layering that flutters along with interlocking loops of solitary guitar pluckings. A while in, the louder synth pulls back, giving the piece an ominous tone; while Chapels doesn’t vary the sound, the atmosphere of the accompanying layers, as well as the slow escalation of volume, are more than enough to coax listeners.

Both sides of this split are excellent variations on drone; while The Transplant Mountains tend to enliven their work with ensemble-driven rhythms, Chapels takes minimal synth sounds and pairs it with added textures to hypnotic effect. The whole tape is worth a listen, and preferably in one sitting, because this is a split that is quite cohesive back-to-back.

recommended

Zone Tripper/Gentleman Ringworm – Split (C28, Forever Escaping Boredom)

harsh noise, Noise, Review

zn tripper ringworm

Zone Tripper is Hal Harmon and Ry Sikora crafting futuristic tunes, aptly named for their style – it reminds me of an ’80s sci-fi movie about robots and giant overheating computers. Gentleman Ringworm is a project I’m unfamiliar with, led by Clint Payne and David Hanch (as the liner notes state, he weighs in at 4 lbs). Both get a side around 14 minutes on this split.

Zone Tripper starts with two tracks simply titled “Transmission III” and “Transmission IV (Plasma Grenade.” Both are warped sounds of beeping, squealing, and feedback, with “Transmission III” using a high-pitched tone in the background and a lot of bleeps and boops as one might expect for such a themed project. The two tracks do feature some harsher noise overtones as they move into crunchy, walled-in territory; “Transmission IV (Plasma Grenade)” is mostly a track of Merzbow-ish scrapes and malfunctioning ancient computers. If you dig the theme of these guys, their tracks won’t disappoint.

Gentleman Ringworm is a little different. Weird samples, spoken word, and assortments of audio clips are the norm for the project’s three tracks. “Rodents in Vegas” features a lo-fi sample of some Asian loop, low tones of cats meowing, and a synth drone as voices exclaim, “I keep finding these bugs in my bed!” The tracks don’t get much more normal than that; “Saigon Stilts” is quiet with random synth notes, humming, and that’s pretty much about it. “Caverns and Taverns” has a pulse to it that’s pretty interesting, along with some whirring, cicada-inspired layers that adds a hypnotic effect. Ultimately, though, the Gentleman Ringworm tracks seem to be mixed rather low on this tape, leaving it a difficult side to listen to.

However, it’s overall a good tape of weird synth sounds and sci-fi futurism. There is certainly much to like about Gentleman Ringworm’s odd choice of samples and sounds, and Zone Tripper adds two tracks to their repertoire that absolutely bring back memories of watching Blade Runner or reading Kurt Vonnegut. Check it out.

W>A>S>P>S/Nacht und Nebel – Split (7″, Nunwsp)

harsh noise, Noise, Review

wasps

This is a short split between W>A>S>P>S (also of SCKE//, the man apparently likes acronyms) and Nacht und Nebel with four tracks across the whole record. There’s a similarity of crunchy murk throughout, with Nacht und Nebel wandering through thick junk sound in three significantly short tracks while W>A>S>P>S sticks to one rigid sound throughout his four minute side.

Nacht und Nebel’s three track are all right around a minute long, and as the liner notes state, were all created using a cello. Apparently this was an abused instrument because none of the tracks truly sound sourced from the cello except in the sense that they’ve been destroyed, re-envisioned, and manipulated into shuddery noises and submarine pings. There’s quite a bit more variation to the tracks than one might expect, and the three different tracks feel decidedly different despite fitting together quite nicely.

The other side of the record finds W>A>S>P>S experimenting with a crunchy, warped texture that wavers and jumps but remains fairly unchanged throughout. The offering finds good middle ground between bass and static sounds and often seems to change its pattern even when it is apparent there’s no rhythm to be found. On such a short split, it’s unfortunate W>A>S>P>S doesn’t give the listener a bit more to work with, but the one track is good enough on its own.

This split is ultimately just a short 7″ to get the listener accustomed to both artists, not to be taken as a fully realized album. It’s an interesting example of what they can do, and the EP itself fits together pretty well. Certainly worth the short time it takes to listen.

Vomir/Pig Shrapnel – Split (C62, Hair On My Food Tapes & Records)

harsh noise, harsh noise wall, Noise, Review

vomir pig

I think we all know who Vomir is; Pig Shrapnel is Joe Stache’s HNW project who also runs Hair On My Food and Serious Business. Both of them come together on this lengthy split to make a whole lot of racket with two side-long harsh noise walls. You were expecting anything different?

Vomir’s track is “Untitled” on the A-side, and he offers us a 30 minute slice of harsh noise wall heaven right up there with many of his other similar-sounding walls. This one’s fairly roiling with a heady bass roll in the background of the wall with some sticky, fuzzy static up front that is fairly fast-moving, leaving little space between. If you thought you were in for change, you’re mistaken; “Untitled” remains consistent throughout, a block of sound that seems like it’s moving thanks to the static pops but isn’t dynamic by any standard.

Pig Shrapnel’s side is much more bass-driven. “Behold the Pig” is dirty low-end sludge, where the bass rumbles tend to take on a life of their own, oscillating to different pitches (or not?) and seemingly wavering all over the place. There is just a hint of a static trickle spitting at the listener; it’s occasionally there, and when it is it adds only a flavoring of substance that surprisingly works very well. It’s an intriguing listen all around that stays locked and yet feels different throughout the whole track.

It would be well worth the money to check out this split for Pig Shrapnel’s track alone, and you already know what Vomir sounds like. But with both tracks, this is a must for harsh noise wall fans. Unfortunately, if you didn’t pick it up when it was released, you’re out of luck – it was in an edition of 17, and they’re sold out.

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Lovebrrd/Su Sous Toulouse En Rouge – Split (C20, Lava Church Records)

Drone, harsh noise, Noise, Review

lovebrrd su sous

Lovebrrd and Su Sous Toulouse En Rouge both offer one track per side on this split of unconventional electronics. Lovebrrd we’ve covered before; lots of synths, samples, and drones are the items that project utilizes. Su Sous Toulouse En Rouge is one-half of The Uh… and his partner, and on this set they deliver a weird mixture of funky beats, harsh noise walls, and other interconnected samples.

The first side is Lovebrrd with “Coasting,” which starts out with a number of different recordings from answering machines and a macabre synth. None of the samples seem disturbing or upsetting – one simply states, “Give me a call back, I’d just like to know where to send your check” – so it’s difficult to tell what is meant by using these messages, but once they stop Lovebrrd hits with a huge wave of harsh noise. It seems to be led by a scream, but static crackles and the hammer of enhanced organs take over, with small breaks opening up for some drone. It’s an interesting and cacophonous entry for this split.

On side B is Su Sous Toulouse En Rouge with “Margo Darling at the Treasure Island Funk Center.” The title, I would venture to guess, is a play on Treasure Island Fun Center in Florida, and it kind of helps to put the track in context. It starts with a vocal sample and a short harsh noise wall, a large beautiful slab of static, then switches to a recording of a water fountain. That’s kind of the sound that the Treasure Island Fun Center has on its website, although I might be trying to find connections where there aren’t any. After the water sample, a looping, bass-heavy ditty plays, one you might hear at old movies where the screen states, “Your movie will be playing shortly!” The middle portion of “Margo Darling” is a reverb-heavy slice of electronics – it almost sounds like a recording of someone yelling, echoing heavily. The track ends with another rhythmic song, this time quite catchy with its guitars. I fail to see the seams that hold all of these different movements together, but they’re still fun to listen to as pieces.

It’s an effective split all around; Lovebrrd offers up quite a harsh ten minutes while Su Sous Toulouse En Rouge plays with what they can do with longer-form tracks by breaking theirs up into movements. If you like weird, instrument-heavy noise, this split on Lava Church is for you.

Ebola Disco/Screwtape – Split (7″, Now… This!)

harsh noise, Industrial, Noise, power electronics, Review

screwtape

Both members of Ethic Cleansing come together for a split, but not as Ethic Cleansing. Instead they use their solo monikers; Ebola Disco isn’t as well known as Screwtape, but they both throw down some pretty heavy cuts on this short 10 minute split vinyl. Creative cover art, by the way: take it out of the plastic wrap and ogle both sides, designed for each track.

The first side of this 7″ is Ebola Disco’s “I Feel Love”. Think it’s a cover of Donna Summer’s track from 1977? It’s not. It starts with a chugging loop, adding feedback and industrial-tinged squalls of metal grinding, then vocals over the top that are growled and mumbled and overall just maniacal enough to work. They’re not the most intriguing of Ebola Disco’s set – the chugs stay stationary while feedback squeals make their own pitched rhythm. Lots of textures to notice here, so the vocals simply add to the overall chaos of the sound.

Screwtape’s side, “Sacrifice (Are You Enjoying This As Much As I Am?)”, uses a spoken word sample about pornography as it swirls around it. The vocals are somewhat distorted by the shifting haze of lo-fi electronics in the background; they create a faded howl that drives the track, while a sample of a girl’s dirty talk (“Do you like it?”) interrupts the preaching. There’s a lot going on, and sometimes it’s difficult to pick out the actual words in the speech – if you miss some of them, you’ll also miss the point. But the melding of pornography and a diatribe against it creates an effectively disturbing piece.

Two well-made pieces of noise on this split, so you can’t go wrong picking it up. They are very different sides, but Ebola Disco and Screwtape both know how to hit with harshness and then back away, and Screwtape’s side is an experiment in hypocrisy.