Harsh Noise London - Label overview.
Active since 2016, Harsh Noise London is a unique label, their web presence is based around their Facebook group, where they and others can post in the group about other or their own Harsh Noise releases. The label frequently does releases which are on recycled cassettes of all different sorts on which different artists from around the world are put together on a cassette, I like the massive distances in Geography between the artists on each tape. I know the recycled cassette concept was made famous by RRR, but I like it all the same. On this review I am going to look at a few of their recent releases.
Harsh Noise London Recycled Tape Series #6: Really Good.
A1. God Pussy – Untitled. (29.48) https://www.facebook.com/conceito.dissonante/
A2. Fecal Vomit – Vomit. (14.48) https://www.facebook.com/Nundata-Fecal-Vomit-123244127701519/ https://fecalvomit.bandcamp.com/
B1. Fecal Vomit – Vomit too (15.47)
B2. A Raja’s Mesh Men – The End is Nigh. (28.48) https://www.facebook.com/noisebyjames/ https://enemasmashjar.bandcamp.com/
Brazil’s God Pussy contributes an ‘Untitled’ track, which is all hiss and crackle building up to farting deceptive walls that distort, break down and falter into assaultive noise. Sharp harsh bleeps and waves of static fight and dance around each other. The interruptions are strong and use original hum which I haven’t heard in ages, the use of wavering feedback is strong too and there are some impressive shifts in under bass that rise to the surface at times to dominate what’s happening. The temporal nature of the walls come and go in the work and allow shifts, mixtures and fights to happen between the different noises - it functions like an ever-shifting blast of sound.
Fecal Vomit is from Serbia and has been active since 2009 under the Nundata and Fecal Vomit monikers. Samples and break downs of sound build ‘Vomit’, I thought my player was mangling the cassette up or the ghost of the tapes previous recording, but it is a combination of classical and noise that gradually explodes into a sonic fight. The noise isn’t as harsh as God Pussy’s but is more nuanced which allows the contrasts with the classical work to be effective. The distortion, hum and sharp noise play together effectively as the samples periodically breath through and work in conjunction with the noise. The noise wavers, warps and pulsates a lot and seems to flip out at the end of the track to dominate and die.
Fecal Vomit begins the B side with ‘Vomit Too’, News reports and distortion fight each other, the samples shift from different aspects of TV. Genres of music shift in the background to work with and over the voice samples. The distortion is left to do the noise work, the shifts and chop in samples combine with this. I admire how the samples are left to take prominence at times and allowed to work by themselves as they playfully shift into something else. Fecal Vomit demonstrates some excellent experimental quality, Low-Fi brilliance.
A Raja’s Mesh Men is a prolific London based project. ‘The End is Nigh’, begins with a dense wall of low-end distortion. This is a bass heavy wall that crackles and demonstrates tonal shifts inside, whilst the outside remains dense. There’s some tickling sharp crackle that’s vague and peppered over the top. The bass roar is deep whilst the light crackle is more effective as it isn’t too sharp crackle reliant, which can sometimes be tedious in other walls. This is a good wall with strong shifts within, not lazy, just right.
Harsh Noise London Recycled Tape Series #8: The Shard.
A1. Vilgoc – Twierdza. (20:18) https://vilgoc.bandcamp.com/ http://vilgoc.blogspot.com/ https://www.facebook.com/Vilgoc/
B1. Hooked Talons – Prey (14:56) http://hookedtalons.blogspot.com/
Vilgoc is Sebastian Harmazy from Poland. Twierdza is a slow, low bass end wall piece which gives off a good deep crackle with soaring hisses of sound that jutt out of the wall at times. These give several layers to the work; the higher levels of crackle appear to peel off the wall and simultaneously rebuild as if constantly morphing itself. The hiss really kicks off later in the wall as if to shift the wall into two separate forms that work away at the same time. The sharper wall eventually takes the lead whilst the deeper sounds are consistent in the background. A third wall tone builds making for a group effort of sounds working with each other, to form Twierdza into a very layered sound that pulsates more as it builds up. I like the growing complexity of this piece.
Hooked Talons is a Richard Ramirez project, he is originally from Texas and now operating in Pennsylvania. Along with the Rita, Vomir, Macronymphia and many others, he is one of the key figures in today’s HNW movement. This project has been releasing since 2011, it is one of many Ramirez projects. This starts off warm, deep and low with a lot of explosive sounds cutting in, it’s fractured and deep immediately. This wall shifts a lot into more eruptions of noise, it isn’t steady, there’s a lot going off at one time. There are interesting background drones behind everything in contrast to the deep back rumble of Vilgoc’s work. At one point it seems to die off only to rebuild itself again descending into a vortex that seems to build in order to collapse in on itself and rise again. This is an immense, massive and shifting piece of work.
Overall this tape is two artists demonstrating two, strong contrasting pieces. Both at the top of their game, impressive stuff.
Harsh Noise London Recycled Tape Series #12
Fall into Dry Lungs “Antisocial Behaviour.”
A. Tracks 1-5.
B. Tracks 6 – 10
Based in Vienna, duo Fall into Dry Lungs take an original and exciting approach; their sound is improvised percussion and harsh noise and it is really refreshing to hear as the two sounds play off each other brilliantly. It’s very ‘basement’, but the raw factor adds magic to the work. I love how the drum changes rhythm at will, it sounds like the chaotic, insane drumming on early chrome records, full of character and leading and following the noise at random; they work together well. The noise, like the drums shifts and changes a lot, it doesn’t allow for things to get boring. It isn’t a noise rock type project, just two elements creating abstract rumblings. At times the voice of the work, shifts between the two elements with one taking the lead and passing it on continuously. I am unsure if the sales dialogue at the end of one side is part of the album, or what was on the tape before. This project has been very exciting to discover; it is another gem/highlight of 2019.
Harsh Noise London Recycled Tape Series #13: Brutalomania & Gen 26 “Collaboration”
A. Part 1. (18.30)
B. Part 2. (11.30)
Brutalomania is Manuel M. Cubas, based in Spain and Gen 26 is Matjaz Galicic based in Slovenia. This tape begins as a crusty wall, very crackly with a mid hiss with distortion. This is complimented by screeching echo that builds up with background tones. The noise accelerates and falters at times, for the wall to regain a different composure, a shifting, wavering one. The breakdowns become more frequent and it becomes an exciting broken wall that blasts and dies off continually. Part 1 shifts and morphs continuously, as it breaks from just being pure Wall it gets better and better.
Sharp, shifting harsh tones introduce the second side as distortion rages, slightly muted in the background. This shifts into lower level noise territory using a partial wall that morphs it’s use of distortion whilst back noises echo through this. It contrasts well to Part 1, the levels to rise and lower periodically. The distortion when it builds moves in a cascading way, rocketing and tumbling as pitches of feedback also rise and holler.
This is a good release, with strong shifts that keep things varied so they never get boring.
Harsh Noise London Recycled Tape Series #15: Clove.
1) Slay Your Boyfriend: Analog Whisperer (10:00) https://www.facebook.com/sigalot.pjx
2) Hiroyuki Chiba: Battle Creek Blow 1 (9:12) https://www.facebook.com/hiroyukichiba.improvisation
3) Hiroyuki Chiba: Donbrako (9:12)
3) Hiroyuki Chiba: Donbrako (9:12)
4) Hiroyuki Chiba: Battle Creek Blow 2 (9:12)
1) Wolvestribe: Live @ Destroy All Artifacts 12.3.2017 (Features Thomas Holmes Speech) (21:47) https://www.facebook.com/Wolvestribe/ London
2) Dystopian Vomit Cop: It only hurts forever (10:00) https://dvcop.bandcamp.com/ Michigan
3) Dystopian Vomit Cop: Hope was never an Option (10:00)
This is a larger Split with four artists contributing. Manila City, Philippines based Slay Your Boyfriend delivers some crackling lower wall expanded with sharp and whistling pitches of noise. The interruptions of whistling noise are curious and interesting, it’s as if it is a wall that doesn’t hide its background noises at all, it lets then roam free. I like this wall, less dense and very interesting.
Noise overload in a mass of over input way defines Japans Hiroyuki Chiba, I like the merciless digital assault, it is very reminiscent of French stuff like Entre Vifs and Le Syndicate that I’ve been listening to lately. I like the relentless shifting and retuning that makes the work move so rapidly. The work moves from area to area, it doesn’t stay still for long. The overload strips back quickly to keep things interesting and allow for greater contrasts between noise elements which is good. The sound gets choppier as the tracks progress, the shifts become aggressively rapid and choppy. The sounds become slightly depraved in an abstract way, the work sounds like it is being stretched beyond coherence, the speed accelerates and drags, the work sounds like it is being tortured and warped beyond belief. It is an insane digital battering that comes with many, many faces.
I’ve never heard London’s Wolvestribe and it’s refreshing to hear some pukey drones over Death Industrial sludginess, things are down and dirty in this performance. This is very ugly, and I like it. The performance has echoes of a bad hangover, droning feedback radiates and shifts nauseously. I like this work as it isn’t just macho electronics, there is a gutter like ambient bleakness that serves as the base of the work. It’s like streetwise Death Industrial, this is horrible, it seems to reinvent ways to make the sound become sicker as it progresses – even as it dies off. The old school tinkering that pops up through beeps and tonal abuse is ace - I am keen to investigate this project further to see if there’s a new heavyweight contender on the block. This, Active Denial and Ordeal by Roses are the UK’s most exciting new PE projects that I've stumbled across this year.
Michigan’s Dystopian Cop Vomit seems determined to outdo Hiroyuki Chiba’s violence in a more repetitive streamlined manner. It uses raw repetitive echo noise to maximum effect. This is very minimal with crackles of distortion to contrast the repetition; this work is immediately strong. This is older in its stylings to, ‘It Only Hurts Forever’ it is just raw sonic noise. ‘Hope Was Never an Option’ is more wall like in its delivery but has the same relentless noise leanings in part as the other track. This is a Noise project in the rawest sense, I like that someone cares enough to perfect this form of delivery – Dystopian Cop Vomit is obscure brilliance at its best.
Harsh Noise London Recycled Tape Series #17: Paternoster.
Side A: NODOLBY https://nodolbymichelescariot.bandcamp.com/
0 1) Guzzler (13:10)
0 2) ReLentLess (11:18)
Side B: BEGRAVD https://begravdnoise.bandcamp.com/
0 1) Follow the Trail of Blood (25:00)
NODOLBY I like, it’s the murkiest recordings in this batch, in that they play with quieter noise, through this you’re forced to listen intently. This has a more avant-garde/experimental/ feel coupled with a bleak Industrial twinge at times going on. I feel the noise and the pull back on levels makes the work experiment a lot to avoid formulaic clichés. The noise structures build and act out for long periods of time and I think there’s a strong mastery of noise evident as the experimental use of noise can work in conjunction - the work has a dominant solidity and combined playfulness happening at the same time. As the work progresses the Bandcamp ‘Junktronics’ description becomes irrelevant, this is fine Italian noise.
Ohio’s BEGRAVD has an immediate large sound on Follow the Trail of Blood, blasts of distortion and arching overtones combine to build a massive, cold wall. Humming resonates just behind the distortion, so tightly that the two merges, as the distortion falters the hum holds things together. There is other submerged noised lurking in there. At times the wall does drop, only for everything to slowly rebuild itself, this does feel very worked, not lazy; elements can communicate with each other and take stage at times. I feel the works coldness isn’t a contrived coldness (e.g. with Black Metal aspirations), it’s just natural to the work. The density of the work increases in consistency as it progresses, giving it a full sound after breaks and falters happen earlier in the work. This is good HNW work.
Harsh Noise London #16, Vomir “Untitled for Harsh Noise London” Floppy Disc.
I feel the need to confess immediately here, no lies: when I received this, I couldn’t play the floppy disc as I have no Floppy Disc player, I had to email the label to get mp3s of it, I ripped the mp3 to disc to play on my blaster. The plot thickens, when I saw the running time on the disc, I thought it was an hour and 10 minutes, it’s one-minute and10 seconds.
So, when I played this work, it has an immediate Vomir sound, I have got somewhat lost in walls throughout the last 2 years and have begun to pick up on various traits in different works, stylings and methods. So, I recognise this as very Vomir in its fullness and takes me back to both the gigs I have seen him play live at. The depth and splatter of the distortion’s crackle is unique. What I like and find unique is how this wall repeats itself straight away, so it can be as long as you want it to be, you choose when it stops, the looping is clever it sounds like a wall faulter before the work repeats itself.
Choppy Noodles 2019.
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