Here we have a lengthy tape from French experimental waller Trou titled Mallevs Maleficorvm. The two tracks on both sides of this tape are really just parts of the same whole, which basically makes up the entirety of a 70 minute slab of static walls and heavily modulated vocal effects.
The first half of the tape employs a pretty crunchy static pattern and those aforementioned deep, warbled vocals to maximum effect, relatively droning without a whole lot of change or variation in the mix until later into the track. That leaves side B to do a bit more alternation; you’ll hear the static patterns churn differently, more often interrupting the vocal background effects. Trou also changes the sound texture of those vocal effects too, something that sounds akin to a highly malfunctioning television set.
Mallevs Maleficorvm is an interesting use of harsh noise styles paired with more wall-like textures. The vocal warbling tends to sound somewhat similar to the fast alterations of sound utilized by cut-up artists, while the static remains pretty stoic throughout for wall elements. The result is a hypnotic, constantly shifting 70 minutes for the listener.
I confess I’m probably not the intended audience for this release from Trou and Rotkappchen, which seemingly has references that I don’t quite understand due to its French connection. This quick C10 titled Miss Bolbec features a series of bulldozers on its cover and yet its actual content seems taken from the 2014 Miss Bolbec pageant. What we get are a series of short bursts of noise and tracks full of French speaking directly from that pageant. What they say, I can’t surmise – I did take some French but not enough to understand these tracks unfortunately.
However, both Trou and Rottkappchen give about 3 minutes of full noise blasts that are akin to harsh noise wall. Trou’s is a raucous stuttering affair that I like quite a bit, with enough bass shuddering to keep it interesting even through the found sound pauses.
Rottkapchen’s track is an uncut five minutes that features a young girl singing until a static blast of harsh noise wall cuts in overtop of an audience’s clapping. Short and to the point, it’s a solid piece of work that is quite the opposite of HNW’s routine.
While I don’t quite understand the intent of Miss Bolbec, the two really quick noise cuts are quite good though they’re not expanded on. For French listeners, this tape might reveal something more than what’s apparent to my strictly English ears.
Trou is a harsh noise project from Mieczko K., the same person who runs the label Ciel Bleu et Petits Oiseaux. On Sans/Ni, a short release for Memory Wave Trasnsmission veteran Autistic Campaign, he experiments with drone noise walls – a deviation on harsh noise walls that emphasizes the layered aspects of synth drones without the harshness of static and bass. It’s an interesting take on the subject matter, and drone noise wall (DNW) has seen a wide variety of artists exploring denser, less harsh sonic territories.
The cassette is split by side with two nine minute cuts. The first, “Sans”, finds Trou experimenting with a warbling synth tone while a deeper one provides the unshifting wall-like drone. The tendency for Trou to loop the synth tone and then cut it off unexpectedly in the midst of its repetition adds a hypnotic layer to the track that makes up for the fairly rigid structuring. Thinking in terms of HNW, Trou has given us that base tone that locks the listener in and the constant static shifts that draw the listener’s attention, and “Sans” is a compelling track that does require a few listens before the idea really clicks.
“Ni” is similar in its approach, again featuring a drone that undulates almost identically to “Sans.” This time, however, Trou incorporates a grittier tone, with static that wouldn’t seem out of place on a traditional HNW track. It adds nice texturing to the track, and Trou randomly cuts things off in the track with a pocket of silence to keep the listener engaged. Again, this concept carries through to the end of the track, although the drone seems to get muddier throughout. However, the warbling is a bit too similar to “Sans”.
Sans/Ni is an engaging experiment from Trou, and it shows that drone noise walls can be effective with the right approach. And Trou’s choice to keep things short – nine minutes per side, twenty overall – ensures the listener won’t tire of the sound, because I’m not sure how well DNW would work at longer intervals. This is an refreshing tape and I’m eager to hear more from Trou.