Reviews

This type of music tends to challenge the distinction that is made in conventional musical practices between musical and non-musical sound.

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Re: Reviews

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Ramleh - Hole In The Heart (1987*)


*The above video is of the 2009 expanded edition, the same one I most recently listened to. For some bizarre reason, this version starts off with a whole disc of material that is, from what I can tell, completely unrelated to Hole In The Heart proper. I want to keep my review focused on the core tracks of Hole In The Heart, so to briefly address the bonus material: it failed to impress me.

Currently, I'm making the effort to go back through some of Ramleh’s discography, in an attempt to understand the hype surrounding them. I listened to a bit of their massive Awake! boxset a few weeks back; since that boxset is mostly comprised of outtakes, rarities and alternate versions of existing tracks, I felt I was missing out on the context needed to appreciate their work.

Hole In The Heart is one I see get talked about fairly often, and maybe it would’ve hit me harder had I first heard it in my twenties… except that’s exactly what happened and it didn’t resonate with me then, either.

Ramleh can certainly be credited for pioneering a [still] fairly unique ‘ambient PE’ sound, but there’s been three and a half decades of arguably better stuff since then. By the time I’d first heard of Ramleh, I’d already listened to countless others who were inspired by them; I still remember being blown away by the exponentially more obscure [though practically more attainable] works of John Lithium, who took a few cues from Ramleh, but I hardly remember anything about Ramleh's own works.

So let's clean the slate: what do I think of Hole In The Heart now?

The opening track “Spear Flowers” starts off great, but about a minute-and-a-half in it abruptly pulls a switcheroo and totally derails all the momentum it built. What a cop-out.
Following that, the title track is an annoying medley of slipshod guitar noodling and droning vocals. This is one of the rare times where my description of how a track sounds is way more interesting than what it actually sounds like.
On the flip side (literally?), I really like what they did with “Product of Fear,” and wish they’d built it up into something bigger.
It sounds like they were trying to do just that with the following track, the confusingly named “Grazing On Fear 2” (if the “product” comes before the “grazing,” isn’t that kind of like eating your own shit?): vexingly, they shit the bed halfway through the runtime. What happened? It’s like the keyboardist lost his place then panicked; crashing waves of synth textures suddenly and inexplicably devolve into little Timmy smashing on his Casio keyboard.
And then the album’s over!

I think Hole In The Heart had some cool ideas that just needed to be developed more: as it exists, it sounds like they were trying to force too many things out at once. A neat yet deeply flawed experience.
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Re: Reviews

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Re: Reviews

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Cyess Afxzs - Ernst (2022)


Excellent new harsh noise project I came across via a thread over at the Scream & Writhe forums.

Apparently Cyess Afzs (pronounced like “Size Affects”) describes their style as ‘post-noise’ but to me it’s more like straightforward harsh noise that just happens to synthesize a handful of elements from multiple subgenres (e.g. cutup noise) into their own style.

My only complaint is there’s a brief part at the beginning of the second side where the volume sort of wavers: whether this was intentional or not I can’t say, but regardless it doesn’t work out well at all.

Otherwise, this would be another new name to keep an eye out for.

FYI the bandcamp link above starts by playing excerpts of both sides, but the whole album tracks are there as well: simply skip to them or wait for the excerpts to finish playing.
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Re: Reviews

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I started a post HARSH noise group... we never worked out what it was meant to be, I guess.
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Re: Reviews

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I also remember something like that, a band claiming to be making "new noise", and Tim making a withering comment about it just being bad :deadbanana: ahh
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Re: Reviews

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Knurl - Sensory Eradication (2022)


Alan Bloor’s been on a killer streak for the past couple years or so and he just keeps nailing it.

Recorded in 1998 yet unreleased until now, Sensory Eradication is a near-perfectly paced, no-bull harsh noise assault.

This is one in a series of recent reissues of older Knurl material; 2021 saw an excellent remastering of 1996's Nervescrap on the Knurl bandcamp page, and while Sensory Eradication is fairly comparable in terms of tonal quality, I think I might actually like it a little more than Nervescrap because its condensed run time makes it pack quite a punch.

These recent reissues in general arguably rival the intensity of his more contemporary works despite having been recorded on technically inferior equipment: if anything, they benefit from a distinct analog crunchiness that’s otherwise absent from his recent output. I have no idea how Mr. Bloor [re]masters his material–assuming he does at all-but I'm dying to know.

Worth every penny.
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Re: Reviews

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difficult record to review: I like it, but I have no idea why, what its appeal is.

nope. haha
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Re: Reviews

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I'm relistening... thanks!
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Re: Reviews

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Prurient / Potassium Cyanide Dogbane Sentiment - Persistence (1998)
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Couldn't find any samples this time, sorry. You're not missing anything.

This was one of Dominick Fernow’s earliest tapes and wow is it bad. Body Language must’ve been a monumental leap forward for Mr. Fernow, and having made that leap in just three years’ time is nothing short of a goddamn miracle.

The Prurient side, simply put, sounds like a kid who doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing, trying to keep things interesting with what little assets he has at his disposal. In fact, I’m willing to bet that’s exactly what happened, because if google is to be believed, Mr. Fernow was only 17 years old at the time of these recordings. I’d have more empathy for him in this regard, but clearly both of us have long since moved on. Yeah, you keep on breathing into that microphone, bud: real brutal. Slap some cheap spring echo on everything, too. It’ll rule!

Also, it could just be my rip, but Jesus Christ man, the tape recorder they were using must’ve been kicked down a flight of stairs or something; the sound dips-out all the time with seemingly no rhyme or reason, and whatever isn’t unintentionally sidechained is barely audible to begin with.

On the flip side, Potassium Cyanide Dogshit Sentiment isn’t much better: in fact, it’s arguably worse. Simply distill the mildly pretentious, adolescent cringe of the previous side down into one 20+ minute-long sitting, performed live. Yeah, no shit. It just sounds like a bunch of garbage being thrown around with the occasional scream or an aborted attempt at building a rhythm: you’d get the same experience listening to the janitor cleaning up after the show.

Now I want to make one thing clear: I’m not saying my own early work is any less cringey. Both me and Dom are/were Wisconsin boys so I wanted to cut him a little slack. If anything, Persistence only serves as further evidence of how mediocre this state’s overall noise output has been over the decades. Mr. Fernow may’ve been come from here, but he sure as fuck didn’t stay: I cant say I blame him.
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Re: Reviews

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first album I listened to for a while, and one of the few NWW albums I have listened to. I'm really into the fade in and out; it shows talent. this hour long album is composed of 4 or 5 separate sounds, with each one being introduced in addition to the others, over the course of the hour. so, starting with a drone, then IIRC creaking, then groaning... there may be noting remarkable about it, but I enjoyed the album, and as it ended I was feeling more cultured and wanted to listen to something atonal. which I like.

I suppose the key feature of it is how the drone it starts with does not change but shifts its focus with each further addition of a new noise (creaking, groaning...). I noticed that it started out making me feel slightly depressed, almost like a sunk ship.

one curious thing is it may be reaaaally well paced: the groaning sound was introduced as soon as I started to ask myself "should I maybe deconstruct this" (I'm not sure what doing so would mean, other than maybe having a sense of humour).

anyway, a recent reissue of a 2003 release. long live NWW, I suppose... even though it isn't entertaining at all.
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