Saturday, 14 December 2019

MLEHST - More Punishment.

MLEHST – More Punishment – 2019 – Cassette/Download/CDR-DVD – Oxidation – CDROT060.

This tape by veteran UK noise project MLEHST is a 1 ½ hour tape, it comes with a whip and both are nailed to a wooden plaque. I missed out/might have avoided all the eras of noise packaging that come and go. These have included sheets of metal, concrete, bandages, logs, grinder discs, barbed wire, hospital bits and a whole assortment of goodies that are hard to store.

The album begins as an ambient atmosphere, with samples that are buried in the distance and a repetitive slow beep, as if in a hospital and listening to a life support machine, this becomes more suspenseful and warped as it moves along - the project always manages to disturb in some way or another. The pace and screwiness of the work shifts so it is lively whilst remaining subtle in its sounds. I think this is well executed low level noise that has good ambient qualities, both are tweaked well enough to complement each other. Beats enter at one point and are interrupted plenty, so they become a sound rather than a backing beat for stuff to work on; like interrupted language. More Punishment continues in this manner for the whole first side.

Static atmospheres hiss, it has a more Industrial edge as it sounds like hissing steam or a kettle, it does provide a spacious atmosphere to the sound. It reminds me of the kind of mischief early Premature Ejaculation would get up to. This slowly shifts, different sounds create the depth for periods of time, some are more disruptive than others building to low level walls of noise.  As this happens the noise becomes more noise like and raises in intensity slightly.

As the distortion rises, I’m within the wall, this is more layered than the work with The Rita that MLEHST did – it has a thicker density too. Feedback goes off in the background adding further layers and depth. This breaks down to reference the earlier noises of Side 2 yet retains enough aggression to stay with the tension that the wall built. Warbling bass noises take over, as frequencies subtly twinge in the air, like the projects Wall work, the slightest shifts in frequency have a massive effect. The use of samples is put in the background, so they become inaudible noise, but add a Sci-fi feel to the work. Distorted percussion brings the album to an end.

I think More Punishment is one of the strongest examples of low-level noise experimentation that I have ever heard. It does shift into Dark Ambient and Soundtrack territory ensuring that the depth of some of the work created is rich and dramatic. This is an amazing album.

Having thought about it, I tactfully avoided the noise packaging aspect of the scene but this is one that I am glad I caught.

Nevis Kretini 2019. 

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