DECAYCAST REVIEWS : K2/ CONSTRAIN / FENIAN CD (Oxen label, 2015)
Here we have another harsh, tasty treat from the always harsh, loud and on fire label OXEN RECORDS from LA run by Matt and Leah Purse. This album comes in beautifully artworked jewel case, and the sounds live up to the artwork./ The disc opens up with a harsh, but fun offering from noise legend, K2 (Kimihide Kusafuka) who swiftly and masterfully carves through fifteen minutes of classic, chaotic, phased out harsh noise blasts. Oscillators and opportunities shudder open and closed as Kusafuka melts, blends, breaks, and blasts his way to a masterfully brutal harsh noise assault. k2 has been terrorizing both sides of the brain/globe with his harsh noise presentations of aural hell for years and this brand new offering is no exception. Dynamic, loud, abrasive, and unapologetic doesn’t even begin to sum up the work of K2 on this release, or any of his extensive and sought after back catalog, though it’s a brave and noble start.
Kevin M. is up next with an equally brutal and chopped up track from his elusive yet prolific Constrain project (who also offers up the album artwork to boot) The Constrain track has a few more rhythmic elements that tease and tug on the listener somewhere in the background, but they never remain for more than a few seconds before they are swept away with choppy, arrhythmic feedback blasts, chaotic, unstable circuits and belching, smelly walls of distortion and speaker popping. Constrain’s style is a bit more choppy overall than K2, but it’s no doubt working in the same schematic of compositionally aware, yet angry and disjointed noise music. The Constrain track has some nice stereo effects and is fairly dynamic, in terms of some of the other projects from this artist, though it slowly builds to a chaotic climax somewhere about halfway through the track and begins subtracting from itself and erasing its own heads and tails.
Last and not least of the three artists, we have the Fenian track, which is perhaps my favorite and the most dynamic and movement based piece on the disk. Also a bit shorter than the k2 offering, fenian carves, warped, warbley blown out harsh noise which seems to have more of an analog tape machine feel (even though i know thats not whats being used – or maybe i don’t, or maybe nobody does, and nothing does, including the machines ) Fenian navigates the harsh to minimal transitions rather smoothly and always riding the line between blown out and microtonal harsh noise, in a swift and compelling way. Some faint field recordings of voice/ old song can be heard, however before the listener can claw at a point of reference, the sound is GONE, SQUASHED, MANIPULATED, into a harsh hellhole of auditory terror.
The fourth track is a collaboration, by mail it seems between the three artists and is mixed and compiled by K2 according to the liner notes. This track offers some really fun manipulation of source material from Constrain and possibly Fenian as well but it’s undoubtably processed through the K2 sound engine! Overall a great offering for all the harsh heads out there who want something with a bit more sonic density and with more variance than most contemporary harsh noise, these three are keeping the bar high and dangerous.