DECAYCAST Reviews: SHADOWS “KnightsEnd” Cassette (Polar Envy / SKSK, 2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews: SHADOWS “KnightsEnd” Cassette (Polar Envy / SKSK, 2018)

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SHADOWS “Knight’s End” (photo: Polar Envy / ASR)

Cleveland, OH mainstays SHADOWS is David Russell and Wyatt Howland (and at least for this release are assisted via the sonics of Roman J. Leyva) crafting their  dark, horrific, take on the legacy/story of Batman  through mastered techniques of harsh noise, drone, percussion and dynamic  mixing and editing techniques. The sound of SHADOWS seems go evolve with every release and “Knight’s End” is no different. Beginning with a murky, distorted rhythm we are  quickly whisked away into a harsh symphony of ringing, clanging, scraping; attack on  the ear and the “fearless”? The sound of shadows is physically manifested through the  black clad, pointed eared upside down man of the night. “KnightsEnd” fuses longer drone sections, which contain a rather cinematic arch to their presentation, slowly beginning as a low, slow sine wave and over the course of a few minutes, escalate into a cavernous,  yet detailed sonic explosion of harsh noise, voice, and percussion, a masterfully blended evil sonic stew leaving the listener with a tense, uneasy feeling, which for my ear canal is just perfect.

.The B side “KnightQuest”  follows a similar compositional format, beginning with stark, alienating percussion, resembling the swaying of an old, cursed sinking ship with hundreds of  piezos placed within it’s weakest structural support system and signing a hum of the  druid through mangled cassette tape, as it creaks and rips apart all whilst bombs fall from an unknown sky above.  We hear a parade of  dissonant sounds slowly dragging themselves closer and farther away to the ear canal, like a slow, pulsing infectious disease spreading through an unknown human cavity, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. The blending of all of the different sonic elements that compose the sound of SHADOWS is perhaps one of their strongest elements as the  tension seems to build throughout in a subtle, yet  important way, dragging us down and down into the sea of sonic mayhem until the  last air bubble pops at the  surface, the ship has sank, their are no survivors, only the harsh, alienating tortured sounds of Shadows “Knight’s End” As of the time of this review, according to the label’s bandcamp page there’s just, ONE copy left and you should GO HERE AND BUY IT.

POLAR ENVY 

SHADOWS 

DECAY CAST Interviews : STATIC AND SOUND; An Interview with DEREK PIOTR

Sound artist Derek Piotr is releasing a new  record coming out in late September on the DSPR imprint, titled “Grunt”, so we decided to have a short conversation about Piotr’s work as “Grunt”, specifically on their new record.

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“A grunt. That most primal and animalistic of utterances. The new project by Derek Piotr, his eighth solo record and a set of short-form brutalist shards of human-digital noise, is

named for this sound. Had Xenakis bought a laptop in 1999, he may have produced something comparable to Grunt and its post-human #voicenoise aesthetic. Yet this is a wholly unique piece of work. As with Xenakis, Piotr takes recognisably analogue sounds – particularly the voice, but also drawing on acoustic instrumentation and found-sounds from nature – and reconstructs them into 21 intricate ‘electroacoustic’ miniatures. Yet

Piotr is less interested in dissolving these boundaries between electric and acoustic than he is in hybridising the organic and the digital. Grunt is subversively queer in its post-human composition”

 

Dr. Decaycast:  “A grunt. That most primal and animalistic of utterances” would you say that this  quote sums up the Ethos of the Grunt project perfectly?

Derek Piotr: Grunt has a separate meaning in Polish which is “earth” or “ground”. In general this project is trying to remind people of awareness of the physical body and reconnecting with nature in a really direct, almost clumsy way. I feel society has totally gone ethereal with apps and phones and I wanted to hit listeners lightly over the head with this project.

DD:   Can you talk a little bit about the strategies of creating the sounds on this new record?

Piotr: Granular synthesis and heavy edits. In my earlier work i did a lot of very klobig cut and pastes, just lines and lines of small repeated glitches, then got further and further away from that idea as I moved on in my work. I wanted to return to some of the earliest ideas I had about sound, but in a way that is closer to my own vision than it was before…it always takes many tries circling around something before you reach the center.

DD: Would you consider yourself a concept based artist? If so, How does this record differ in concept from your previous seven full length albums, if at all?

Piotr: I think every record does fit into a concept. Drono was about drone music, Forest People Pop was of course more of a Pop record. I think I need a fence to work in or I would just be utterly lost. It would be interesting to me to create an album with no borders, every track a different flavour or feeling, but I feel ultimately that may result in a very uneven album. Something close to this happened with my fourth record Tempatempat. I tried many different sonic environments and, to me, that effort is my weakest. Consistency is important. I think grunt may be my most thematically consistent record. Most of the tracks are within the same parameters of length, and very similar processing is applied to the sounds across the entirety.

DD: Xenakis was mentioned in reference to this album. Can  you talk a little bit  about the impact his work has had on your  process and  aesthetics, if any?

Piotr: Xenakis is amazing, the press release was not written by me, but I definitely suggested that visual “if Xenakis had a laptop” to the PhD who wrote the liner notes. I think a lot of Xenakis’ work is very rough and direct in a way I tried to be on this album. I was not thinking of Xenakis when writing, more after I had the record done I tried to tie touchstones to it. Some of the work on this record sounds like Xenakis chamber music. Some of it sounds like Stockhausen. Some of it sounds like Pita. Some of it sounds like Kit Clayton. But I only drew those threads together after.

DD: The last track on this record is a reworking of a Kevin Drumm track. Can you talk a little bit about that collaboration and how that came about?

Piotr: I’ve known Kevin for years and we’ve emailed back and forth. We’re on the same label with some of our stuff. As I did with Drono (where I collaborated with Thomas Brinkmann for the last track), I invited Kevin to edit some of the material I was working on for this noise album. I sent him a bunch of demos and he chose Redirect to work with.

DD: Any collaborations planned for the  future?  Did you learn anything from that particular collaboration with Drumm?

Piotr: Didn’t really learn anything from Kevin, we work pretty similarly…that said I do have more collaborations coming in the next few months…

DD: What is some of the best new music (noise or other that you have heard)

Piotr: AGF – Dissidentova

Dirty Projectors – Lamp-Lit Prose

anything from Don’t DJ

but i am bad to talk about “new” music, I mostly lately listen to Jean Ritchie and old Thai music on youtube.

DD: Do you think queerness plays a  big enough role in noise?

Piotr: No. It’s very much a boys club still. I wanna wag my finger a bit: many successful noise artists feed into boys club energy; use guitar and have kind of a postrock shoegaze situation going on. I think it pulls in people and feels like stretched out major power chord business, just made slightly weirder or dilute. Then you have harsh noise which is almost mosh-state sometimes. Definitely macho-ness going on, at least with some of the noise scene figureheads. I wish for more alertness sonically, use of differing tonal systems, general freakiness, softness and sensuality.

DD: What are the next plans for your project?

Piotr: Tour and remixes and videos…

 

You can Pre order  Piotr’s new  album, Grunt, here:

 

DECAYCAST REVIEWS: Attilio Novellino & Collin McKelvey – “Metaphysiques Cannibales” LP/ Digital (Weird Ear, 2018)

DECAYCAST REVIEWS: Attilio Novellino & Collin McKelvey – “Metaphysiques Cannibales” LP/ Digital (Weird Ear, 2018)

 

by Diego Aguilar-Canabal

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My first instrument was not a guitar, piano, or computer—it was a space heater. I crawled up to it on my feeble haunches (so my parents recall), eyeing with skepticism the plastic cage holding its inner circuitry, and scraped a toy truck against its indifferent grooves. It was music, but not art; in a word, it was sound, yet without form.

Humans entertain themselves by forming patterns out of meaningless garbage, and the venerable Weird Ear imprint is almost religiously devoted to stripping those patterns back down to the garbage whence they came. No less ambitious is their latest platter of sonic sacrilege, Colin McKelvey & Attilio Novellino’s Metaphysiques Cannibales.

The anti-conceptual hodgepodge of musique concrete motifs is named after and perhaps inspired by a book of the same name by Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, a poststructural anthropologist who sought to reimagine the study as a revolutionary “decolonization of thought.” That’s a tall order, and no single record will get the job done, but McKelvey & Novellino’s mystical ballet of bleeps and bloops certainly gets the ball rolling.

As you may remember from your earliest toys—particularly from your realization that anything in your hands could be a toy—no melody is inherently happy or sad. No ritual carries inherent reward. It seems like only the Pavlovian training by authority figures can teach you, fragile caged pigeon that you are, can pair a major-key waltz with a sweet refreshing ice cream, or the somber diminished chord with a demonic possession. But is that really how it works?

Side A of this mindfuckery starts with the buzzing whiplash of factory-like rhythms, swirls into the void of a cosmic dentist’s drill, and fades into the spacious echoes of a zombie-ridden hospital morgue. Sources are obscured, and the arbitrary distinction between impact and intent implodes in a serene chaos.

Side B creeps into your consciousness with the whispers of a long-lost French interrogation recording, swallowed by the tinkering and thudding of a conch shell sceance. A molten fax machine emerges from the sludge of a forgotten video game organ dirge, and a scintillating synthesizer drone evokes Laurie Spiegel and Roedelius before sinking into a lonely abyss. The urgency of a broken dial-up connection is tempered by the ebb and flow of a chilling piano loop.

While the grating hiss of granular synthesis is typically the domain of futuristic computer music—you know, all those sweaty nerds coding in Max/MSP—here it gives the music a sense of being unimaginably ancient, like a mad scientist’s vision of the future whispered into a phonograph to pass the time while waiting for the brine to embalm a dead monarch.

“By always seeing the Same in the Other,” writes Castro, “by thinking that under the mask of the other it is always just ‘us’ contemplating ourselves, we end up complacently accepting a shortcut and an interest only in what is ‘of interest to us’—ourselves.”

Indeed, the image we see of ourselves in this record is a terrifying one, and not seeing yourself reflected is a “don’t think of an elephant”-esque impossibility. We’re tragically vain, capricious, greedy yet wasteful, hungry to build something meaningful out of heaps of trash we never wanted in the first place.

If you’re ready to sweat through your nightmares and wake up more confused than ever, this is a record worth adding to your trash-heap.

DECAYCAST Reviews : TODD ANDERSON – KUNERT “A Good Time To Go” (This Is Non Linear,2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews : TODD ANDERSON – KUNERT “A Good Time To Go” (This Is Non Linear,2018)

This little unassuming tape arrived in our mailbox all the way from NZ, where the artist Todd Anderson – Kunert is based. This work titled “A Good Time To Go” boasts the sonic equivalent of finding that perfect moment to ditch out on the show or event or interaction that you’re probably enjoying (or maybe not ) but are suddenly met with that harsh and disorienting wave of uncertain feelings, emotions and sense of space or lack thereof. This album is very much that. the albums opener “No” starts with a slow quiet drone which ascends into a loud, shuttering thud, and steadily breaks up into a more distorted, disorienting, confusing version of itself until the listener is left with their own feelings of confusion about confusion. Dark, crumbling noise swashes give way to more rhythmic patterns which oscillate moments between disappearance and uncertainty while bathing the listener in a sharp bath of loud and overwhelming sounds all to build to a climax and erase themselves to the point where only the distant hum of a sharp bell remains, a single alienating tone tuning and ringing inside the brain of the unsuspecting listener. The overall vibe is dark , disorienting , haunting with spurts of beautiful articulate decay.

The albums strongest track “It’s Taking Forever” is an honest, heavy take on what could be best described as digital power drone. Lots of dark and articulate textures exist throughout, crawling and wringing out dark, alienating slime into the ear, especially on this second stand out track which really carves out a lonely and confusing sonic space, oscillating between traditional takes on drone, ambient noise, “power ambient” some might say.  Overall a solid release with a wide interpretation on what could be considered psychoacoustic drone music.

TODD ANDERSON-KUNERT

TONIGHT: NOISE SHOW IN SF w/ DEMONSLEEPER / THOABATH / NEHA SPELLFISH / MALOCCULSION

TONIGHT  4/20 IN THE  CITY OF  SAN FRANPSYCHO

SECOND ACT. 1727 HAIGHT STREET, SF, CA 7:45-10PM SHARP

 

“Four twenny in the Haight Ashbury? Yup. If smoke makes the best sunsets, the banks of Golden Gate Park will be blowin’ up as Neha Spellfish, Malocculsion, play the final show with Demonsleeper and Thoabath before they hang ten off a dank ring blowing out toward San Juan, Puerto Rico where they’ll opena new venue for experimental live sound. Come see them off with…1414959_10153953359597836_4368103547300810001_o

NEHA SPELLFISH (Oakland/Madrid)
With low frequency waves washing up on a beach of dark noise ambience, Spellfish delves into the shared space of interspecies communication and paramnesia, invoking the spectral measure of waking consciousness and noospheric cognition. Neha invokes themes of macro psychology, xeno feminism, dynamically modeled weather enclosures, and instinctual variance, employing audio programming platforms and algorithmic granular synthesis.
https://soundcloud.com/spellfish

Demonsleeper
Deathrattle lullabys and inescapable lucid dreamscapes wrought by somnambulist maestra, Alexandra Bushman. In 1999, she formed the electro-acoustic group, Synethesia, tegether with Angélica Negrón. After scaring the daylights out of everyone at the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico, she matriculated to Mills College before committing to advanced studies with ancient dark forces whose names must never be spoken.
https://soundcloud.com/demonsleeper

Thoabath
There’s a perceptible gravity to Andy Way that somehow vanishes once you draw near, the material world floats adrift. His solo project, Thoabath, might just be that massless Euclidean point where noise, dub, power electronics, horror, and ambient all emanate, an entelechy without clear precedent, of no laws. Prepare your ear, first study his collaborations with luminaries like Bruce Anderson (MX-80) & Petit Mal in the project, French Radio, sink yourself in the occult cacophony of Sutekh Hexen, and then, approach Thoabath, inescapable dark quasar.
https://soundcloud.com/acway/

Malocculsion
Watch concrete turn to quicksand and glass return to sand as this sonic juggernaut storms the Haight Ashbury. His inaugural solo album released last year, “Psychosis Industrial Complex”, melds blown out distorted beats, arpeggiated synths, tape manipulation, voice, field recordings and homemade oscillators to belt forth a dark, unique offering of post industrial, prison music.
https://ratskinrecords.bandcamp.com/album/malocculsion-psychosis-industrial-complex

 

 

DECAYCAST REVIEWS : K2/ CONSTRAIN / FENIAN CD (Oxen label, 2015)

DECAYCAST REVIEWS : K2/ CONSTRAIN / FENIAN CD (Oxen label, 2015)

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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.

 

OXEN LABEL 

DECAYCAST REVIEWS: COCK ESP & GINGER CORTES Split Cassette (Forever Escaping Boredom Records, 2014)

DECAYCAST REVIEWS: COCK ESP & GINGER CORTES  Split  Cassette (Forever Escaping Boredom Records, 2014)

I’ve been a Cock E.S.P. fan for a lonnnnnnng  time  but i have  never  written about, or  attempted to write about their music/noise/destruction, etc but  with this tape, i’m going to, The  side  starts out  with  an insane bass  blast low -end FullSizeRender(14)wall of noise  and  a woman’s  voice, twisted, demonic, screaming and  howling as  it’s being  choked with blood and laughter. The  voice is a constant but a  hellish wall of  squelching noise  ensues and  swallows the voice into despair and hatred.  The transmission is broken, and high frequency walls of nauseating   piercing feedback give a bloody birth, to, what , a thumping beat, a beat???? Yes  folks, thats tight, Cock E.S.P. brings the booty bass on this one. The  distraught voice chugs and howls on,  grabbing onto and biting through the beat until the  skilled vocalist spits it out into a superhero’s afterbirth of a noise  menacing, dark noise  wall,  screaming at and  attacking  the listener  with unrelenting precision and terror. I do  NOT want to know what was going on in the  studio when this was  being recorded, or maybe  i do, but  either way something hilarious, dark, and nauseating was the influence, oh I dunno this  filth of a planet? COCK E.S.P.  does what most harsh bands cant  do, EVERYTHING. they bring the ultimate  package of visual and  aural insanity.Here’s the thing though, this is noise, but it’s done with a  jazz like attention to detail, all whilst embracing the  murky guts of the  chaotic element of bodily fluids, chicken masks, and flying objects.

They literally NEVER  let me down, even when when they’re  trying to let  you down, they don’t, and  that’ll hopefully piss them off 🙂  and this recording, like many I’ve heard are a testament to their hard work in the  studio, in the gutter,  and their  blatant infatuation with  and  disgust with humanity… What a  fucking  good  band, seriously, see them live, but  don’t blink because it’ll be over.  Like this  shit  inspires me. Thank you Emil Hagstrom, Jason Wade, Julia Rau, Paige Flesh, and John Vance for  releasing this blatant harsh assault on my ears and mind, it was much needed.

Despite COCK E.S.P.  being  a very tough, and messy act to follow on the  stage  and on a  recording, The  Ginger Cortes  side holds it’s  own on the B side of this harsh  brain jammer.  GC opens up with a dark, heavy, grinding, repulsive wall of harsh decaying belt  sander  style harsh noise. The  dark, brooding  sound continues on, slaughtering the  listener  with an unrelenting sledgehammer of a  scraping mid  range  springed out static  attack.  Ginger  Cortes grinds and  grinds and  grinds  away until the cochlear begins to flake  and shred off, bleed  and disappear, and  then they stop. They stop for a few  seconds of unknown scraping and  fumbling  around, and then a few  sharp  cuts  and blasts and we’re  right back into the harsh noise anus of Ginger Cortes. Quick,  cutting, bloody  cuts of high range  feedback give splinters of disease Ridden mid-range  feedback clusters, and  atomic blasts of  distortion,…and then ‘be  a good  little girl”……….??????????????   wow, what a tape, what a wild  tape, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED,.

FOREVER  ESCAPING BOREDOM RECORDS

COCK E.S.P.

GINGER  CORTES