Republic/The Protocols of the Elders of Zion – Meditation Music Volume 1 (C70, Winter Solace Productions)

Drone, Music, Noise, Review

I’m not familiar with either of these projects, and any information on Republic is hidden because of the difficulty of Googling their moniker. However, based on Discogs listings, this is the only release Republic has participated in; The Protocols of the Elders of Zion have been at work for some time on National Socialism noise, although their time has now come to an end (note: Memory Wave Transmission does not support NS ideology, and this review is based on sound alone). It seems, based on the title, that Meditation Music was meant to be a series of releases, but Volume 1 remains the only compilation at this time, at least on Winter Solace Productions.

Each artist contributes a 35-minute track of meditation, taking up one side of this cassette. The first comes from Republic, titled “Within Time,” and it features a number of sustained synth progressions and drones set to the subtle ticking of the clock. This is a very pure sound, with the drones wavering without much complexity and slowly altering sound as the track continues. At times, the ticking of the clock becomes the focal point; at others, a somewhat sinister riff takes over. All told, this is perfect for relaxation, especially during the early morning hours as the liner notes indicate – Republic recognizes the difference between meditation and the focus of listening and strikes a delicate balance.

I’m not sure that I would call The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’s track, “Untitled,” meditative exactly. It’s harsher and more difficult to listen to than I would have expected, a trilling sound that continues throughout the entirety of the 35 minutes. While meditation doesn’t necessarily require a softer sound, “Untitled” borders on annoying, and that often took me out of whatever meditation I could muster. However, the movement within this piece – subtle changes to the chiming sound – helps to create a trance-like experience. Enjoyment probably depends on the listener.

While I didn’t enjoy The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’s track as much, Republic definitely offers a nicely hypnotic track to aid in whatever meditative art one practices. Meditation Music Volume 1 is an interesting experiment, and I’d be curious to see what other artists could do on recurring volumes.

Klontaveum/Protocols – Glory & Hope/Fa (C90, Winter Solace Productions)

ambient, Drone, harsh noise, Review

klontaveum protocols

The reason I took a guess on the length of this tape is because it doesn’t say anywhere exactly how long it is. The tracks themselves are about 35 minutes a side, putting this at a 70 minute length, but the tape runs along for a while after the tracks are finished. I’m guessing C80, but it could be closer to C90. Edit: Confirmed C90.

Anyway, Glory & Hope/Fa is a split tape from Klontaveum and Protocols (also known by the much longer title The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Klontaveum is a fairly new project I’d guess; I can’t find any information on the project, and Glory & Hope/Fa is the only release listed on its Discogs profile. Protocols have been around for some time releasing noisy ambient stuff, like their massive 6xCD-R set on Mein Kampf that runs about 7 hours long.

Glory & Hope/Fa is said to revolve around fire samples. First up is Klontaveum with four tracks, a quick intro with “When It Began” and then three longer entries. Klontaveum’s tracks are very cloudy, potentially the product of poor recording equipment or an echo-y studio. Whatever the case, it’s difficult to hear much dynamism in these tracks, because the audio is so muddy that the noise tends to blend into itself. Most affected is “Lies of a Lie Forged,” one of the longest tracks from Klontaveum and one that tends to have the least effect on the listener. Its noises often sound sludgy and undefined, only sometimes breaking free of the low bass shudders. “You Know” and “Glory & Hope” are slightly better, with more depth to the sound and somewhat changing tones of sound, where the breadth and pitch is more spread out.

Protocols’ side of the split has only two tracks, “Fa” and “Sandraudiga.” The first has some pretty defined fire samples along with dark synth dirges and a repetitive format that lasts for its twenty minutes. The ambiance of this track is aided by the fire crackles, and Protocols do a good job of keeping things fresh despite the fairly obvious use of repeating textures. The same goes for “Sandraudiga,” with another subtle fire crackle, more dreamy synth drones, and a loose warble that makes the tune feel like its weaving in and out. The Protocols side is absolutely recommended.

It’s a 50/50 release from Winter Solace, with Klontaveum’s side not very striking or profound; Protocols, however, sincerely deliver a nice droning ambient 35 minutes that is definitely worth the while.

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.

キシコドン – ヒドロコドン (C46, Winter Solace Productions)

Drone, harsh noise, Noise, Review, spoken word

ヒドロコドン

This release is difficult to find information about because it uses the traditional Japanese kanji, but キシコドン means Oxycodone in English, and according to Winter Solace, ヒドロコドン is Memories (although looking it up, I found that it means Hydrocodone). キシコドン is Cody and V. Mengele, and they’re a drone/noise duo that use mostly human vocals as source material.

On this release, both sides are lengthy 20-minute tracks that manipulate Cody’s output of vocals. There’s a wide range, from screams to yelps to spoken word tribal-esque passages. V. Mengele puts these in a loop, often using them to structure the tracks’ drones – “I” has a sort of cricket chirrup to it, “II” has a whistling feedback wind with a fast-paced loop of Cody’s screams and yodels – and then manipulating other vocal deliveries to add texture to the sounds.

For the most part, these are hypnotic drones. Sometimes it’s quite apparent that what you’re listening to is just a loop of a man’s voice talking; other times, the idea of human voice slips away to reveal a jumble of noise swelling up. It’s an interesting idea, and though both of ヒドロコドン‘s tracks are quite similar, it’s easy to fall into the rhythms of the loops, the manipulation of speech into something raucous and unsettling.