Exceptionally stoned offering from Jah Excretion, a meditative solo mission into mesmeric Ambient Dub Techno territory, very Rhythm&Sound/Basic Channel influenced. Shimmering aqueous field recordings manipulated over blip radar Dub percussion motions and subsonic Earth’s crust Bass frequencies, with detail only truly revealed though the smoked-out haze at pealing volumes, using the voluminous excesses of his Harsh Noise influence to carve a sonic form of minimalist sound at maximal volume – This is as far from Harsh Noise as Iwasaki San has ventured, with sumptuous, smothering results. I found myself wanting longer songs here, as the entrancing sounds would possibly benefit from more play time room to breathe (smoke) – however, this is still an exceptional little recording, Dub heads & Techno listeners would do well to explore this one. Play it unbearably loud.
Justin K Broadrick has upped the tempo of his release schedule lately and barely four months on from the power techno slugfest that was ‘New Religions Old Rules’, he unpacks the nunchucks for another six belts of spleen-rupturing Sturm und Drang. ‘Veneer Of Tolerance’ though is a very different kettle of sabre-toothed piranhas to its predecessor. Hobnailed kicks still stomp through brackish mires of bass yet there’s something far more insidious at work than mere brawn and belligerence, an undercurrent of subliminal dread that levers open the mind’s eye and injects it with a pupil-dilating serum. After a brief Godflesh-flavoured aperitif, the walls close in with frightening rapidity, and with them the reality of just how ruthless a purge of dance music’s hedonistic trappings Broadrick has effected, though it’s less their mechanics than the images these tracks evoke – troupes of zombie gymnasts bouncing dead-eyed on a trampoline made of human skin; the heads of guillotined heretics thudding wetly onto concrete – that serve as the EP’s primary instruments of antagonism. Were an incautious DJ to drop one of these psychoactive bombs into a peak time set, a Mixmag editorial headlined ‘BERGHAIN ABLAZE AFTER CANNIBALISM OUTBREAK’ might be the least of their worries. Boom.
Alex Hughes brings the pain on the earliest output of Hatred Surge, here collected on one CD (unfortunately sold out from the source at Blastasfuk), pulled from various early splits, demos and EPs. A cascading, surging wall of barbarous grinding Hardcore set on permanent kill – concrete, titanic, Bass-heavy and completely ungovernable, coalescing parts of Death Metal, Sludge, Noise Rock, Thrash and a massive dose of Crust within the maelstrom of blasting Grindcore to utterly devastating, frothing rager effect. Production is gnarly, brusque and unpolished, with the demo tracks in particular bearing a nasty thin one man production that terrifies and serrates. Unfortunately, the CD is mastered rather on the quiet side, although this does little to blunt the fury within: you just gotta crank the shit. Sledging proper Power Violence tempo switch ups with brutalising hammer-handed drums, torturing lengths of noisy Bass riff haywire and broken beatdown Hardcore, executioner Doom no-riff crush and of course the purging, euphoric blasting Grindcore, perfectly pitched super-pissed aggro vocal trade-offs Despise You/Disrupt style. A poisoned crushing dreadnaught of Grindviolence – total fuckin’ cop melter! Classic.
An intoxicating, sultry abstract Jazz mix from hidden form Wataru Nomura – expertly selected, brilliant weird Jazz cuts and Ambience to get you contact stoned, totally inverse and extrospective abstract perspectives on dissonance and quiet. Being the novice that I am, I’m not familiar with all of the artists involved, so I can’t offer insights relative to their individual discographies beyond the obvious and easily researched. Paul Bley’s ‘Albert’s Love Theme’ opens the suite with spectral piano and bass groan, oblique and ponderous, flowing into some masterly percussion and Sax entanglements, stepping and dancing, leading to explorations of fusion types and Free Jazz improvisational expressions. Eddies of lone percussive motions and arcing slews of reverberating noises, spectral and diasporic horns, licks of field recordings, tracks flowing from form abstraction to formless reverie. Furthest out!
Collaborative issue between JK Flesh and Echologist. 4 tenderising tracks, head-enveloping brittle fibrous Techno with an entropic bent, diminishing returns and total futility, miserable, menacing and mangled – experiential and longform, syrupy, banging as fuck. Runs awkwardly through a delay haze yet with lots of swingin’ kick funk. Hyper-designed hardtek expanse unfolds at a menacing pace, minimalist layers of damaged radar bass, skullbreaking sequences of archaic hats and manacled claps drift to and fro across the delay field, paranoiac with potent shifting pulsing rhythm, loops swinging in and out of lockstep with purcussion and Bass in broken mandala alignment – shadowswept and lunatic, jaundiced heads float in decompressed airlock zero gravity, treading a fine line between science fiction cannabinoid innerspace inhabitation and dancefloor melting extro-expression. Brilliant.
Breakbeat aficionados with a taste for the nonlinear have long been gravitating towards Samurai Music’s horn of idiosyncratic plenty, and with very good reason. From the serpentine extrapolations of Ena and Clarity to the techno-flanged ‘Grey Area’ sound pioneered by Sam KDC, the Berlin-based imprint’s output hasn’t so much pushed the envelope of drum & bass as expanded its interior dimensions to cathedral size. It’s a space in which core values are respected but empiricism runs rampant, the ideal environment in fact for a producer like Bristolian visionary Mako to ply his truculent trade, and as anyone who had their cheekbones shattered by ‘Oeuvre’, his blistering 2020 full-length for Metalheadz will attest, circumspection is not exactly his forte. A world away from the by-rote builds and telegraphed drops of d&b in its dilute commercial form, ‘Death Of A Romantic’ goes off-piste never to return the moment needle hits groove, slaloming down treacherous crevasse-gashed gullies with near-suicidal abandon, yet ironically, it’s the precision, not the pandemonium of this precipitousness that gives the album its gratifyingly lethal edge. Tracks like the hellish bass grind of ‘Falter’ and ‘The Both Of Us’, an all tension no release panic attack of windmilling snares and small arms fire, exemplify the symbiosis between anarchy and exactitude that Mako harnesses here, but if you’re simply in the market for a shot of overproof aggro, the tungsten carbide breaks of jungle juggernaut ‘Grieve’ will give your spinal column an exquisitely rigorous seeing-to. The romantic is dead. Long live the romantic.
A couple of atmospheric, devilish acoustic tracks from Mephistofeles, here just vocalist and guitarist Gabriel Ravera. Tombstone boogie is an appropriate title, indulgent stoned jamming in the graveyard, drunk and miserable and quite incoherent, strangely intoxicating in it’s raw immediacy. Headbanded voodoo skull blazing empty eye sockets, illumination in flickering candles over the corpse. The Ungrateful Dead, stoned alone. I hope an element of this burnout sound is present in their next full length record; as it stands, though, this is an unpleasant hippy illy doob interlude whilst we await said full length. And indeed an enjoyably deviant deviation.
Oakland punks Isotope wield a dark axe of Helion Hardcore Crust Metalpunk in the form of their self titled full length album. Soaring and consonant yet brute and assailing Crust, uplifting and swaggering, drenched in bloody fury – bluesy leads and blazing two note solos, arcing Motorheaded Guitars aflame and varied snappy, war-like drumming of power, insanely aggressive vocal rippling with intonation and ruin, rumbling megabass, loud’n’clear production with plenty of noize – these songs carry some hefty memorable melodies within their war-hardened and bloodsoaked armour. Influences from Old school UK Crust and Thrash and Swedish Hardcore/D-Beat are as the whetstone to sharpen Isotope’s brand of dangerous, pyroclastic Crust. Decimating! Carbonized has already re-released the album as a discography cassette with Isotope’s previous EPs and demo bundled in for good measure – be sure to snag a tape!
Recent release from spectral vapor dealer MACROBLANK. Barber Beats? Ok cool, what the fuck do I know about anything. Downcast, mournfully funky downtempo vapor jams to stalk the steaming streets of New Sodom to – dulcet Illbient inflections, slow smooth jazz conundrums and vaporous dejected luxury experience, masterfully smoothed and machined in a way that Barber Beats tend towards, eschewing ‘wavy surface noise and unwieldy joins for clarity and polish, smooth and lurid bronzed surfaces. Crisp Hip Hop beats, beauteous golden echo Sax guides your sobriety away in a dry haze, distant unfurling Funk Bass lines sizzle in the artificial sun. Sumptuous, plastic-sensual, aggrandising. Easy listening for the post postmodern luxuriant goods consumer.
Barbarian is a one creature project from some godforsaken wasteland like Australia. Extremely raw, exceptionally lo-fi, nasty grinding Death Metal borne of mutant meathead grooves and insanely filthy non-production, extant wall of buzzing flyblown Guitar crush and Bass grind, a congealed drooling maggoty mass (mess) with diseased low vocal roaring spew and drum machine programmed blasting puncture wounds, mangled horror samples, much midpaced gory headbanging mayhem amidst the blasts, putrid and putrefying, oozing sludge and infected pus. This thing sounds fucking humid and rotten beyond belief! Sure to appeal to Goregrind and Grindcore freaks, too – Depressor, Impetigo, and Mortician are all signposts to the horrors within, though Barbarian makes these feculent sounds firmly their own through wasted, mental cannibal bombast – 6 tracks of shambling, reeking outsider Death Metal perfection for teratomas.
Methlab Explosion’s most recent offering ploughs a furrow into Synthesizer soundscape dynamics, Industrial wall of glass and swirling vortex electronics Noise, eschewing the blast beats and Grindcore elements of their sound and diving headfirst in this Power Electronics/Industrial direction with bloodyminded aplomb – appropriately ruinous walls of synthesized ephemera, pulsing rhythms of Industrialised din, well placed samples and serrated synth drones, piercing harsh high spikes shearing eardrums to bleeding shit, extremely damaging, moments of clean(er) Synth tones drenched in bleach, movie dialogue sample loops used to hate-accentuating result. Cataclysmic and dramatic, lo-fi scary shit, bedroom of the gunman vibes. Midwestern horrors. Images of outsider compounds and weapon caches, busy at the work of war – Will’s projects are fucking awesome. Buy a copy from Tin Standard. “NOT ART IN THE LEAST”.
Having hit the ground running in March with an explosive debut EP that pitted his guileful production grit against the hectoring Afro-grime of nailgun-voiced Ugandan MC Swordman Kitala, UK beat provocateur Soft-Bodied Humans goes out on an impossibly long limb with its sequel, a brace of logic-defying collaborations that positively revel in their own jarring incongruity. First across the machine shop threshold is arch art-popster Silver Pyre whose whimsical streams of semi-consciousness (think Mark E Smith if he’d hailed from rural Somerset rather than the mean streets of Salford) are welded to a steely sub-bass chassis, smeared liberally with synth-grease, then reversed at high speed into a lava lake of Japanese monster movie samples. It’s an exhilaratingly strange contrivance, but if it’s the apotheosis of weird you seek, look no further than ‘Kaiju Growls’. Funeral doom and jacking South African house variant Gqom are arguably the ultimate in non-overlapping magisteria – less chalk and cheese, more BoJo and integrity – yet somehow, S-BH and dirge metal behemoth Abysmal Growls of Despair manage to cajole them into cohabiting. Spring-loaded beats carom through a dense gloaming of drone curdled to near-impenetrability by AGOD’s larynx-mangling gutturals which plunge so far down the register he makes George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher sound like Björk. You couldn’t make it up but that’s probably the point, and given that further instalments of this ongoing series are already in the pipeline, only time will tell whether suspension of disbelief is habit-forming or not. Ready?