I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a gutful and a half of the oleaginous flagshaggery that’s been clogging the arteries of this blighted nation since a certain overprivileged nonagenarian turned up her toes. Sanctuary from the forces of the fawning is urgently required and who better to provide it than ex-Napalm Death drummer and iron-fisted ringmaster of Circus Dubquake, Mick Harris. A timely reactivation of his fearsome Fret alias, ‘Because Of The Weak’ is industrial techno armed to the teeth and with mayhem in mind; a shockingly graphic illustration of man’s inhumanity to machine with little apparent purpose other than to destroy and be destroyed. Imagine the breakbeat-strewn arrhythmia of Skee Mask or the Zenker Brothers fermented and condensed to a toxic black magma and you’re in the vague vicinity of this mile-deep bomb crater, but the severity of the punishment Harris metes out here has precious few parallels. The menacing tone of track titles like ‘20oz Gripper’ and ‘Shut That Dog Up’ is reflected in the music’s withering hostility. Asteroid-sized kicks and breaks smash through ramparts of chest-crushing bass like boulders launched from a trebuchet, parabolas of ionised dub and hi-hat hiss glowing blood red in the fallout. Released via New York’s L.I.E.S. imprint whose roster of sickos and seditionists have long plied their trade at the seedier end of the hardcore continuum, ‘Because Of The Weak’ melts down techno’s hedonistic throne and recasts it into stun grenades. Obscenely wealthy monarchs, consider yourselves warned.
Radiation sickness in aural form from Hamburg-based sound-mangler and theorist David Wallraf who lands on Deal’s increasingly vital Brachliegen Tapes with an incendiary 3-track EP as uncompromising as it is imperative. ‘Нет Войне’ (literally, ‘No War’) is the horror of the age made manifest; politicised post-industrial dub that counters oppression by institution with oppression by sound in incisively stringent fashion. Opening track ‘I Hate My Government And I Hate Your Government’ (hearts are worn firmly on sleeves here) sets an ear-razing precedent, churning up the tarmac on the road to dissolution like a damaged, post-apocalyptic reincarnation of My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Slow’. Woody beats thwack against buttresses of excoriating bass-riven noise until the pressure becomes unsustainable and all falls eerily silent. ‘Congagement’ is just as steely yet more surreptitious in its approach to sedition, but Wallraf reserves his most withering attack for ‘Всё Идёт По Плану’, almost 10 minutes of acrid, dub-diseased discord rent asunder by a monstrous doom-laden bassline that sidewinds through the scree like a starving anaconda with a caiman in its sights. With all proceeds going to Nash Svit, a Ukrainian LGBTQ advocacy group, this is one righteous racket you simply cannot do without. Grievously good.
Disinclined to toe the self-limiting line of genre fundamentalism, Brooklyn-based imprint Ohm Resistance may be a broad church, but the primacy of bass over all other sonic prerogatives is, and always has been, its raison d’être. The fourth, and apparently final, instalment in OR’s annual sampler series, ‘Perihelion Infinite’ is a comprehensive showcase of the label’s lurid, low end-led aesthetic, featuring sixteen exclusive tracks (un)lovingly crafted to rupture every gas main within a 9-mile radius. Despite the occasional nod to stylistic orthodoxy (‘Subterranean’ by Metalheadz stalwart Jaise is a case study in drop-forged industrial jungle), the majority of these beasts are defiantly chimerical; scaly, multi-appendaged hybrids with their gaze fixed firmly on the future. Atsushi Izumi’s ruthlessly overdriven ‘Casaurius’, for example, fuses drum & bass and techno at the spine whilst a cannonade of scimitar-sharp breaks ensures the happy hardcore sugar rush of DrillBasser’s ‘Even’ leaves a distinctly sour aftertaste. Elsewhere there are forays into critical mass post-dubstep (DEFCE’s suffocating ‘Pain Centers’) deconstructed breakcore (the alarmingly vertiginous ‘Eat Sleep Repeat’ by Belfast belligerents Slave To Society) and even Emeralds-esque kosmische (Bob Rogue’s luminescent ‘Asteroids’), but the predator at the apex of this sub-chomping food chain is Sagana Squale’s nightmarish ‘Blood Goddess’, a paranoia-wracked bolus of malice aforethought trip-hop Portishead would have killed to concoct. Embrace the bass.
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.
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?
2020 release from outrovert slime dealer Wolfie Warship (moniker of agent Anthony Vincent – formerly/AKA Xrin Arms) – Trippin’ face Beats and Bass, loose and mangled sampling interwoven to resemble something like darkside Aesop Rock/Blockhead combo meal production style, esoteric and obstinate vocal slurrs and stumbles forth from the mouthpiece, heavy with leaden threats and noxious jests, totally blunted out and shadowy in intent – Industrial Hip Hop contaminated with pitch dropped samples, hideously formed of mercurial heavily processed Beats and Bass bombast, sidewinder sample melodies cut in half, contorting over the Bass concussion and crispy old skool beats smothered in a duffle bag, processed by force to topographic maps of pique and drop. Capsized and submerged weirdo outsider Hip Hop excellence.
God Is War’s 12″ ‘World Music Volume 1’, released on Phage Tapes in 2020, is a spiteful statement of ongoing hostile intentions towards the electronic music scene at large. Mack Chami’s war will go on forever – Harsh Industrial Eurorack modular Synth Death, pulsing waves of Harsh Noise beats crush your mind while a sample feed of prayer call, decries and misery will pluck out your heart. Body splitting mega beats, hyper aggressive evolving arrangements, and belligerent frequencies scraping and shredding your third eye down to a bleeding nerve stem, slow revelation of patterns emerge from modular synthesis minimalism. Themes hew closely to classic P.E. via Muslimgauze, perhaps a sly nod/wink/bird flip to the many comparisons Chami has received to Muslimgauze over the years in interviews and reviews with reference to his older projects, based on the racist pre-supposition of his incorrectly supposed Islamic beliefs – imperious, arrogant and castigating war electronics to nuke the game.
There are matches made in heaven and there matches made somewhere altogether hotter, and given the fearsome track records of its two protagonists, it scarcely takes a genius to figure out where this meeting of minds and murderousness was conceived. An alias of sound sadist Kenny Sanderson, Like Weeds destroys techno with the zeal of a latter-day Savonarola, torching its vanities on a bonfire and fashioning something ugly and misshapen from the smouldering, blackened embers. The four tracks he offers here are baleful in the extreme, looming escarpments of greyscale noise that split the difference between power electronics and the heaviest industrial dub. Beats thud with contusive force, every micron of space between them choked with a boiling tar of static that corrodes the lungs like phosgene. By the time the death march of ‘Unauthorised’ fades into silence, the chest-crushing pressure is overwhelming, but don’t look to Andrew Nolan for succour; he’s too busy torturing trip-hop to mop your fevered brow. Ogreish and blood-spattered, it lurches from his dungeon, a Hallowe’en parade of grotesque miscreations primed to rip off your eyelids and drag you face first into a conscious nightmare of obliterating dub. As deadly as the blooms they’re named after, these shambling horrors may be short-lived but the bass bin-blowing havoc they wreak is prodigious. Gird your loins. It’s clobberin’ time.
Excellently reductive heavy Techno split with plenty of manacling Funk to move your shackled feet to. A meeting of Napalm Death Side A alumni, here treading rather different yet no less alienated waters – scabrous ancient Techno beats and rugged Bass thuds, crushed production to turn inner-verse spaces into quantum realms, minimal melters to cleanse the bacteria. Mick Harris’ Monrella brings turbine thrust menace and grooving thud kick drive, maximalist and malformed Techno, gritted teeth and havin’ it all alone. Brutal and thuggish. Justin Broadrick’s JK Flesh churns the black aqueous liquor of his recent works into a fine elxir of Techno tar, scabby lo-fi and Industrial-heavy in inference but by way of hard-hitting old tek influence like Basic Channel. Furiously funky and fucking derelict stoned, murderous and diabolically driven. Fire this through an indecent sound system and further alienate yourself from your IRL peers and betters. This split is hard as fukk.
Broadly speaking, there are only two types of techno producer; those who fuck about, and those who don’t. Slovenian industrialists Warhorse fall emphatically into the latter category as evidenced by ‘Atlatl’, by some distance the most addictive discharge of rancorous aural effluvium it’ll be your pleasure to get smoked by this side of Christmas. Clearly disdainful of the tweak and twiddle brigade and their stultifying micro-manoeuvres, Warhorse pursue a hardline scorched earth production policy here, slashing and burning their way to headfuck nirvana with scant regard for the hardware they destroy in the process. Backing up the threat implied by its track titles (they’re all named after torture devices, mediaeval and more modern), ‘Atlatl’ applies the thumbscrews the moment the needle drops and just keeps on tightening them. A viscous agglomeration of angle-grinder bass, radioactive synth splatter and diseased kicks that burst like bodies on a battlefield, this is sadism you can dance to although it’ll probably blow your legs off. If you’re content to watch techno’s freight train coast gently into a buttercup-strewn siding, please look away now. If, on the other hand you’re the sort of casualty vampire longing for it to hit the mainline buffers at suicidal velocity and catapult fifty tons of scrap iron straight onto Starbucks’ veranda, pull up a deckchair. Crushingly good.
12″ on Breathing Problem Records. ‘Apex’ consists of 5 tracks of shapeshifting, warlike, lurking electronic menace, smoke-flooded modular eurorack Industrial synthscape designed to inspire trigger sweats and terminal paranoia shootings. Rugged, taut, disturbing, with exemplary sound-system punishing production. Psychotropic/psychotic Industrial Armament test clinic audio with an armory of sampled weapon discharge amid assassination and terror soundscape atmospherics and ambience, clipped off at a high rate of fire through modular synthesis, sweating cordite, drug labs raided in brutal psychedelic outrage, dripping with narcotic contempt and cold, murderous remove. A secret military exercise in remote chakral overstimulation and psychokinetic disembowelment. Absolutely insane artwork and layout, too.
Review c/o Nic Brown
Anyone (un)fortunate enough to have their cranium cratered by the weaponised infra-dub of ‘Black Creek’ will attest to Andrew Nolan’s uncanny symbiosis with the seismic and on ‘Lonely Water’, released a mere 6 months after the aforementioned mindfuck, he heads even deeper into the dreadzone, decanting the viscous elixir of Princes Jammy and Far-I and lacing it with strychnine. Informed by the terrors lurking unseen beneath English folklore’s green and pleasant veneer (there are tracks here entitled ‘Jenny Greenteeth’ and ‘Peg O’Nell’), this is industrial dub slowed to an agonising trudge, beats impacting like sandbags dropped from a skyscraper, the bass a molasses-thick goo that clogs the interstice between brain and skull, sending rational thought into a perilous tailspin (not convinced that sample-sourcing for ‘The Calls’ involved siting a contact mic in the larynx of a dying walrus? You will be). Fans of JK Flesh, Fatwires and The Bug, don your waders. The kraken wakes.
Two track cassette on the excellent Deathbed Tapes. Overtures to a planet disembowelled… Wood reads the Bastardkind/Mancruel it’s obit and begs the meteors to arrive… total misanthrope passion and immutable outrage at the death of the mother earth… sonic extremity and vocal psychological force, writhing sonic cataclysm chopped into squirming sound pieces, enormous, enveloping production – full-bore harsh Electronics and Insect Ambient, whispering troglodyte, screaming ID. Detailed and designed – recalls their masterwork ‘Rogue Astronaut’ in it’s masterful applications of signal source audial hellfire to stimulate vast cinematic visions of the future’s end, alien electronics weapons discharge and mutant Power Electronics ambient Industrial shifts. Most of the sounds present here would seem to emanate from futurist TROGOTRONIC hand and hoof audial sources, rather than the Barnes ROARAFC handmade synthesis of archaic and ancient origin, with the additional appearance of a guest ‘being’ of equally non-human ideology and devotion on track two. Absolute fucking power!
Striation’s ‘Collection 2’ CD on Phage Tapes, collects a compilation track and an unreleased track with the 18 tracks that made up the phenomenally nasty ‘Trauma Code 2’ on Gutter Bloat. Burnt to a smoldering, sputtering crisp, human beings violented processed into mush beneath the contorting high speed metals, roaring engines and screaming rubber amidst scrap metal Noise explosions, piercing spear thrust of body impaled on the driveshaft – reminds me a lot of ‘Urge’ and ‘Flesh Biting Paedophile’, domineering Power Electronics design and intent with the pure, crackling, immutable energy of Harsh Noise, rendering either genre classification impossible in total, hyper violent and detailed Industrial littered with mutilated samples to disturb and condemn, prurient onlookers gasp and drool as the man on fire leaps from the wreckage and falls to rent, bloody pieces. Striation’s intensely horrible Musique Concrete is so evocative of the vehicular violence it portrays that you can practically smell the melting plastic and rendering fats. You will be unable to look away.
More bleak lo-fi Techno from outsider Bead. Cold, spacious tech loops with a swathe of ambient muffle and numbing quasi-melodies, slow method introversion weird noise palette, shifting and unknowable, sweaty and uncomfortable, very drugs experiential-oriented, heavy overloads of found sound and mutant sequencing. A long album with long tracks, Bead shows a lack of dancefloor appropriate production behaviors and instead opts for long form menacing Industrial-weathered alienation loops and stinging introverted Bass with lots of space between sounds, not un-danceable but not bothered either way, from what I’m guessing. Anti-social, disordered, inner-world headphones Techno. Very cool.
God Is War mixtape on Deathbed Tapes, with some tracks collated from other releases and some unique to this tape (I think). Suzerain Eurorack Harsh Electronics, big fat crushing noise sequencer beats in dominating Dubstep/Industrial like patterns and menacing, glowering, skin-flaying bass pulses, disturbing sample manipulations, hyper-aggression and militant sweat, nail-biting gonzo hair trigger ambiance – combat enhancing stimulant overdose in a Tel Aviv nightclub, seconds from total hulk meltdown and unremitting violence. Chami makes many references to McCarthy’s masterwork ‘Blood Meridian’ across God Is War’s various releases, taking quotes as song titles and drawing allegory and allusion to the novel’s warlike philosophy and extremely hostile standard-bearing intent. Domineering, disconcerting… dehumanizing. War is God.
Acid casualty industrial Techno evil from the States. Cassette released on BANK Records. Heinous pill shovel repeater nightmares, banging Techno loops from a place of little culture or decency. Low rent, ugly, malformed. Long, brutalist tracks loaded with all sorts of caustic audio explosives and horrible distortion. The slight rhythmic breaks in sampling and audial tape distortions give this a real home-made fertilizer bomb funk. Noise generators, eyes popping out, amphetamine fast and atmospheric, true degenerate Industrial noise techno from a fucked up meth addled trailer park. Drugs music!
Satyrs prowl the streets with napalmed hearts, romantic cadavers ablaze, snotty irradiated Industrial Post Punk recorded on a Geiger counter with completely warped mutant Guitar sounds, Kevin Shields style with those whammy bends, killer narco bass buzz, everything driowned in a reverb hum perfection, warmly contaminated and suffocating like a fine powder in the atmosphere, melancholy and catchy songs – anarchic ‘Street Kraut’, super simplistic filth Post Punk Rock, irreverently glum and angry, stabbing neurotic and simple as a punch in the throat. Excellent bizarre gonzo lyrics, electronic beats and acoustic drums, Bauhaus on speed, storming and stomping through the abandoned world of the future primitive. Fucking brilliant and all too short.
Astringent neurological psychedelia. Cut up Harsh Noise compilation from Triangle Records, released back in 2014. Blistering, consciousness scrambling shrapnel fragging, the definition of Harsh Noise in the cut up tradition, death by one hundred thousand unforseeable cuts! These artists shift sample and vaporizing sound source between hostile high register tonal spike and grinding bass juddering/rupturing in a cohesively incoherent maximalist scattershot and brutalist, reverse-copycat Stand Alone/Complex manner. FACIALMESS open proceedings with a sample to the real ones, then lets loose the ensuing signal abusing cuts, running the tonal register gamut and cutting it to fuck before crashing into a closing sample decrying civilization. Endo Sama’s uniquely brusque, stubbornly languid master chopping and stand-out appearance here, as well as K2’s short scalpel high register attack pitch shearing and cutting blast and T.E.F.’s super lo-fi, blown-out, hand-made junk processing Harsh Noise abuse, forge the bridge over to younger artists like MAAAA’s multi-signal Synth(?) kill & the always awesome Ahlzagailzeguh’s short, brute stuttering overloading sinister intense provocation, the patient destruction and signal mangling mayhem of Deafault, Developer’s frantic impulse cuts and fatal hazard dynamics, Jaako Vanhala’s relatively minimalist baiting grind approach and designed pace of cuts, Purgist’s oscillating loop death and mind numbing in-the-red pitch spikes, Encephalophonic’s delinquent and cruel machinations arrive in perverted desecration of sleaze siren pulse loops brutally cut to ribbons of spiraling shit, Mantichora’s ambience sucking puncture wound Industrial dirge and drag, Kazuma Kubota’s brittle glass shard sculpture resisting cut hammerblows, made in humming beauteous ambience like ants broadcasting signals on polished stone, Jake Vida incorporates disembodied signal-fucked vocal barely recognisable into muddied cut and haywire scramble, Lettera 22 and an unknown artist bringing the comp to a close with audible ambient samples and field recordings and building volume more slowly and sparsely. The compilation flows incredibly well, and every piece single here is marvelous. Discerning between tracks during listening will be a true connoisseur’s challenge, I for one often couldn’t tell where tracks begin and end, particularly as the halfway point rolls past, making the listening experience all the more discombobulating and blissful. Urban Industrial cut up Harsh Noise nirvana. Absolutely imperative.