Sunday, March 22, 2015

Estuary English

How amazing is it that both of the strongest members of the pioneering English power electronics band Whitehouse would release full lengths in the same year. How about that those albums are what many consider the strongest works in their respective projects to date? Mr. Bennett has been busy sitting on his laptop whipping out 12" after 12" of his "afronoise" project, Cut Hands. An interesting concept, I guess, but one I never took a lot of interest in. There's a very big blur of noise and techno/house music nowadays that is often times piss poor to my ears, but with a few very occasional exceptions. And I will admit the new CH record, "Festival Of The Dead" is at least decent and the most captivating bunch of songs I've heard from William so far. Meanwhile the second nut of Whitehouse, Philip Best, has stuck tremendously close and loyal to the roots of his greatest band with his side project, Consumer Electronics. Those roots being loud, abrasive, monolithic walls of harsh noise, perverse feedback abuse, and strong lyrical vitriol shouted out at demandingly fast rates. Here is their latest 2xLP, "Estuary English".

I probably will be playing a little catch-up with 2014, since this year has so far not given me very many incredible records yet. When "Estuary English" came out at the end quarter of 2014, it instantly ended on my best in the top 5 of the year list (which I've never posted, my bad). It is a brutal, hateful, diverse piece of electronic filth. Finely crafted and delivered with masterful performances by one of the genre's pioneers. This new chapter of Consumer Electronics is also a triumphant welcoming of the newest members of this unit. Philips now-wife, Sara Froelich, and Russell Haswell. Both doing a fare share of electronic work.


The bulk of "Estuary English" and it's 25 minute run time is Mr. Best and Co. performing their tried and true sound exactly as it should be. And time and age has only given Phillip more grit in his throat and more provocative, topical opinions. Tracks like "Affirmation", "Come Clean", and the title track
are brutal, punishing power electronics harkening back to the wonderful 90's Whitehouse records. And Philip sounds more dominant and frustrated then he ever has. Proving still that he is one of the genres more consistent and legendary performers.

Now of course, "Estuary English" could have been just another Philip Best PE record, and that would have honestly suited me just fine. By this point, they could all probably bang out albums like this in their sleep. Which eventually can probably make a musician feel a little stagnant. The array of sounds an influences on this were upon first listen surprisingly large. The brilliantly minimal opener "Teknon", is a jarring track comprised of just thuddy bass blips and searingly aggressive vocals. Immediately I think of Whitehouse tracks like "Cut Hands Has The Solution". The centerpiece of this whole record, "Sex Offender Boyfriend" has the most ferocious vocal performance I've ever heard from Philip Best. Gone are the strongly enunciated, macho vocal jabs. Lyrics are toppling over each other here, spit in flying in your face, teeth are being gnashed and ground as everything is trying to get out at once. It's the vocalings of someone literally fuming with blind rage, absolutely astonishing. This is also the first taste of CE playing around, surprise, beats! A much more traditional, industrial style thankfully, with strong influence taken from classic Throbbing Gristle records.

There does seem to be some sort of underlying concept and narrative on here. There are many jabs at English society, noise artists, and modern trends. From what I can loosely gather, the main protagonist is a younger woman who eventually slips deeper and deeper into the darker sides of the rave and club scenes. Which could explain the track "Co-Opted", a pulsing heavy house track with the only lyric being "Co-opted by cunts!" yelled over and over again. I imagine it be a track with sarcasm entirely in mind. Honestly, it's probably the albums weakest moment, mostly because it tracks on to an insufferable 5+ minute run time. The end track, "Air Lock" describing "these final moments", perhaps signifying the end, or the point of no return for our main character.


Presentation wise, "Estuary English" is stunning. Packaged in a beautiful, glossy gatefold jacket, and two thick pieces of wax cut at 45 RPM. The first run came with a CD of the album mastered spesifically for that format. My CD isn't pictured, but there's not much to show. 


You can thankfully still pick up this album pretty easily. It's by far one of the most mandatory noise records of last year, and another proud achievement in Consumer Electronics career.

~VII

Cackhanded

Without a doubt one of my biggest obsessions and loves in the New York noise crowd is Limbs Bin. A solo power electronics/drum machine abuse punk project lead by Brooklyn resident Josh Landes. Someone I am just blessed to have met and developed a friendship with. His extreme passion and VERY broad taste in all things loud, obnoxious and electronic from PE to synth pop, has been very inspiring and just an all around joy to soak in vicariously. Through one-on-one communication or his radio show, Infinite Distortion. Of course this means Josh has been doing splits with some of the most exciting and interesting bands in the worldwide noisecore scene. The most recent crowning achievement is this gorgeous split cassette with the UK's biggest noisecore shitstorm, Two Million Tons Of Shit. Limited to 54 copies.

I've already done a full review of this tape over at Operation Grindcore, so this post will cater more towards the pretty pictures/tape porn crowd. Actual music aside (both sides are total dynamite), this is a very good looking and sounding tape. Released on what I believe is Mr. Landes's own label, Follow Me Into The Laser Eye.


Very professional work was put into this cassettes production. It has a very crisp, clean dubbing that showcases TMTOS's psychedelic racket, and Limbs Bin's expansive power electronics collage piece perfectly. Love this cover art too, it reminds me of some incredible, batshit, sci-fi propaganda movie from the 60's. Apparently 42 copies were on black covers with the remaining 12 on white.

Limbs Bin is on a seemingly never ending spree of releasing splits with all sorts of noise and grind artists and groups, and I'm positive each one will not disappoint. TMTOS are seemingly lacking any real internet presence, so I sadly have no idea what they are working on presently. This tape is seriously worth seeking out though, decalcify that pineal gland and let the noise seep into your skull.

Listen/purchase: HERE

~VII

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Hot Poison

One of my biggest, mushiest, lovey-dovey music crushes is John Wiese's prolific, monumental noisegrind/harsh music concrete band Sissy Spacek. A swirling, ever evolving and experimenting unit which has been on a roll of consistently putting out grindcore rooted 7"s over the past couple of years. Due to my deeply saddening lack of online purchases, I'm still missing quite a chunk of SS records. However, the fantastic "Lead Their Exit" EP has managed to find it's way into my loving hands. Black vinyl, 45 RPM, limited to 300.

Sissy Spacek is one of my true loves because in addition to their constant experimentation, I think they are one of the purest examples of what quality noisegrind should be. Mr. Wiese's mastery of sound manipulation instantly lends itself to inventive ways of actually incorporating noise into the grind, and drummer Charlie Mumma's brilliantly stripped down style or 100% pure blasting and nothing else. He will play literally just blasts. it's a recipe for perfect noisegrind. At least when Sissy Spacek does it.

This is a notable release for Sissy Spacek for a couple of reasons. Most notably is the entry of new vocalist Sara Taylor, screaming her throat out as the replacement for the usually present Corydon Ronnau. Sara's vocals are equally raw and monotone, sounds a lot like Madison from Cloud Rat actually. She is also partnered with the brutal metal screams of Charlie, which is pretty different for the band. Sissy Spacek really have becoming a devastatingly tight band, under all the noise and lo-fi production. Slowly creeping closer and closer and toying more and more with the more straight forward grindcore style of writing.

I'd say that "Lead Their Exit" is one of the more focused and well executed of the recent batch of 7" EPs. For the short time length, they add a lot of variety and a good amount of individuality to these tracks. Side B opens up with the less then a minute power electronics track "Oils Of Your Eyes", before going into two BRUTAL Arsedestroyer covers. It's a pulverizing display of Sissy Spacek at their most straight forward and aggressive, ending with the most structurally complicated track "Decrypt". These last few tracks are the best examples of Charlie and Sara dueting with each other, and it's an incredible assault. 


Very good packaging in a sturdy glued sleeve. My favorite!! No insert, and all the infor given is printed on the back.


~VII

Morte, Amore, Morte

I'm ashamed to say that counting this record, I only have 2 physical releases from Sam McKinlay, aka The Rita. HNW pioneer who's status as the genre's supreme lord perseveres to this day. A personal favorite, and one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to creating harsh noise wall music and finding sounds. The level of true passion and effort Sam puts into finding his sound sources is staggering. And his incorporation and use of fetish in aesthetic and audio is legendary. This is a suitable wax partnership with the incredibly prolific Serbian noise wall warrior Dead Body Collection. All on black vinyl, 33 RPM.

I ordered this off of a random distro site, having no knowledge of this particular record. Any Rita is good Rita, ay? The thick, impenetrably heavy walls Sam is known for are here, kind of. Sounds to me like this recording is some of his rawer, less processed stocking worship. But without any proper information it's hard to determine. The low rumble, static crunchiness of this is texturally thrilling, but subdued. My personal preference of The Rita has always been his shark diving, aquatic landscape sourced recordings, which are pure punishing insanity. There's some good left and right channel interplay and variation of tones, but not much else to say.

Dead Body Collection fares a bit better on his side of this slab. "Morte, Amore, Morte", a track which proudly credits that there was no mastering done here. Cool? A windy, gushing white noise starts it off, which is quickly partnered with a top layer of brown, compressed static textures. Two elements that carry this track throughout. While this is also not a sonically mind-blowing offering, DBC won me over with the track's flow. A very nice mid-section which drops everything but the brown static, which sounds very anxious and invasive when it is the sole focus. Dropping into an ensemble of increasingly intense creepy walls. Good stuff.

Wonderful tidy packaging and presentation. A thick, glued sleeve with stark black and white fetish imagery, with a suitable lack of any information.


The Rita will apparently be coming to NY state this year with Richard Ramirez. I am so so excited!!!

~VII