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Saturday, August 11, 2012

2012 - Splits VII

Yes, another split compilation, but this one's focused on noise. These three are a few pretty cool noise releases that I can only hope you wind up checking out. Reviewed from 1-8.

Faux Pas/Grain Belt - Split (2012)

Band: Faux Pas/Grain Belt
Country: Trondheim, Norway/Minneapolis
Style: Noise/Noise
Label: Small Doses

I guess the best thing to start off saying is that with the exception of one of the bands talked about below, I have not heard of any of these artists before, including the two that make up this split. Faux Pas is a pretty intense burst of noise that sort of stutters and starts throughout it's almost five minute running time, spazzing out from low-end drones to raw feedback at the drop of a hat, and then it's over wondering what you just heard. Grain Belt on the other hand is a lot more of a jarring experience. It's like everything you heard on the Faux Pas track, but instead of skipping from one to the next, they're all happening at once, and with more stuff added in as well. From spaced out samples, industrial clanging, buried vocals (or more samples), with the obligatory wall of noise, it's a no-nonsense face-to-concrete experience. I kind of wish there was a little bit more on here, just because both tracks are short and left me wanting more after they had finished, but I can live with that. Definitely a must for noise fans out there.
Overall Score: 7
Highlights: Slow Screw

Mink Stolen/BLSPHM - Split (2012)

Band: Mink Stolen/BLSPHM
Country: Dreamland/Seattle, Washington
Style: Experimental Drone/Blackened Noise
Label: Dead Accents

I was very fond of BLSPHM's most recent outing, Barter The Lashed, but main man Daniel Johnston is very prolific in releasing material, in both format and style, so assuming anything about a certain release is a pretty dangerous thing. I wasn't familiar with Mink Stolen before this split though and starting with their half first really did make me scratch my head because it was very, very far from what I had sort of thought I would hear and it really set the tone for the rest of the tracks to follow. What you get from the project are four rather interesting, droning sound-collage pieces. BLSPHM's half is more intense, but is still more of a sound-collage than piercing noise pieces, which is what I would have liked to have heard. For the entire duration of this release, you have tracks that range from being interesting and thought provoking to dull and rather flat, or at least that's what I happened to get from it. I don't think it's bad, I just wish that there was something a bit more tangible for me to grasp onto; and I'm very aware that music like this isn't meant to be tangible in the first place but BLSPHM is a project that has proven that that can indeed be done.
Overall Score: 6
Highlights: Sei, Sent Sprawling

Shattered Hymen/Hate Basement/Hadals/Fantasy Island - Split (2012)
Band: Shattered Hymen/Hate Basement/Hadals/Fantasy Island
Country: Chicago, Illinois/Chicago, Illinois/Nashville, Tennessee/Chicago, Illinois
Style: Noise/Noise/Noise/Noise
Label: Tapes of A Neon God

I was not aware of any of these projects before reading a review of this split which immediately grabbed a hold of my attention and made me look up this label and this split. Starting with Shattered Hymen, we have some brutal sounding walls of noise that is absolutely punishing. What sounds like someone playing with broken glass and metal while growling in the background, it's a real punch in the face if I've heard one this year. It needs to be said that this first assault goes on for ten minutes and it is just relentless. Hate Basement, by comparison, isn't quite as longwinded and instead tries to cram as much HNW into your skull through bursts of piercing feedback. Despite all of that, there's this almost mechanical, or industrial rather, atmosphere in the background that gives it a rather odd feeling. Hadals, by comparison with the other projects on here, is far more restrained. Choosing to open the track with very somber drones that relent as when they start to become too loud only to gnaw at your psyche when he begins to scream bloody murder underneath waves of noise and feedback only to fall back into quiet in it's closing moments. Fantasy Island closes the release with a track just as intense as Shattered Hymen, though it is less focused on a constant wall of noise and instead has chosen to beat you over the head with brutal bursts of it. It's like a mad-man clubbing you to death, foaming at the mouth, roaring violently while you just lie there and take it all in. All four projects deliver some of the most violent, and interesting, noise I've heard all year, and that is to really be applauded. Definitely check this tape out.
Overall Score: 8
Highlights: Swaddled In Bape, Chris Brown

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