This is the first release by Diagnostic, the latest project from Jan Robbe (Atomhead/Undacova/Erratic). There are nine original tracks backed up by remixes from KK Null,Katran and Aethereal Arthropod among others. Glitched, industrial tones and clashing noise / ambient flavours are the core of the Diagnostic sound. This is a far out there, harsh, alien soundscape wonderland that very few people are capable of producing to this accomplished level. While there are beats and rhythmic elements at the forefront on a couple of tracks, the finest moments are when the sound is free flowing and evolves with highly nuanced detail through uncharted sonic territories as displayed on “Vantage point” where chaotic electronics become enveloped by deep space ambience into an explosive sonic cocktail. As a long time follower of all of his projects it is nice to hear the progression in this intense and highly individual release.
The Fountain of Perpetual Decrepitude [DRKFLT002]
Scottish producer Savier serves up a cassette for London’s Darkfloor Sound label which continues his exploration of bass weight and slow, heavy beats backed up by remixes by a host of Darkfloor artists and associates. The Savier tracks are a mixture between his trademark distorted, metallic drums, glitchy effects and ones with a subtle use of melody which create a distinctive sound most notably on the two shortest tracks “Cast him in” and “Grooming Dead Rats” but also add a creepy flavour to the title track and “Mrs Warboys”. As the tape progresses it becomes more disjointed with each track, having a slightly different flavour while retaining the moody crunch we have come to expect with “Bulk Bogan part 2” sounding particularly unhinged. The remixes here are pretty much an album on their own with seven in total all going off at different tangents. I particularly enjoyed Opine Kosinsky’s noisy hip hop take on “Bulk Bogan“ and Robert Logan’s very psychedelic rework of the title track.
Umwelt / I Hate Models
I Hate Models and Umwelt split a very smart purple-marbled 10” on the the latter’s Rave or Die imprint. IHM turns in one of his usual uptempo, almost trance-like numbers which uses a repetitive melody over slightly moody strings with an acid line coming in towards the end. I’m sure it will do the damage on the floor but it’s not really my bag. For me this is all about the Umwelt track which I first heard in Amsterdam back in March at a volume that had my nostrils flapping. “Requiem of Haunted Warehouse” starts with 4/4 kicks and very quickly starts to bring the PCP esque doom flavour to the floor. The track moves between kicks and more electro styled beats but remains steeped in minor chord scales which Umwelt has used very effectively many times before. My only complaint with Umwelt is the amount of music he releases. I like a lot of it but it seems hardly a month goes by without something new and this can often lead to saturation but as this proves, he still delivers the goods more often than not.
Darko Kolar’s Jezgro label is one of the rare examples of a label in 2018 willing to put out a diverse mixture of challenging sounds on vinyl. After releases by Huren (as MRTVI) and Merzbow, Carl Jordan of Cloaks infamy is next up with a 4-tracker of distorted dub and noise beats which is very much in the vein of his previous project but even less dancefloor-oriented. All tracks follow a similar path of disjointed rhythm with endless layers of distortion and it is refreshing to hear sound this crushing with little regard for dancefloor convention. It is basically the sound of Cloaks taken that little bit further so if you liked them, get on this. The release was backed up by another 12” of remixes by Death Qualia, Huren, Shadows and Profligate. Keep an eye on Jezgro for more interesting releases in the near future, including a 12” by KK Null.
Dub Hell / Devil’s Dance 10” [BLACKEST074]
Ossia with two of his characteristically mutant dub techno flavoured workouts. “Dub Hell” kicks things off with hissing noise, dub effects and awesome bass all held together by a 4/4 kick and metallic percussion which make this the real head nodding pick of the two. It sounds very simple but the devil is in the details so to speak. “Devil’s Dance” has a much more moody and paranoid feel, starting off with an ominous dread vibe which stays for the duration. Rhythmically it is much more broken and snare-led with kicks lower in the mix and occasional more distorted drum hits. Again there are subtle details dropping in and out that keep things interesting and this is definitely my favourite of the two. It’s not very oriented towards the dance but I’m a sucker for these kinds of atmospherics. Apparently this is a taster for an upcoming LP on BEB later this year.
BWK, Satanoid, Messias
[Experience X – 012,011 and 010]
Switzerland’s Cathartic Noize Experience have been flying the flag for extreme hardcore with an experimental edge for some time now. Having enjoyed the Messias album released late last year I was looking forward to these three releases and they do not disappoint, all coming up with the goods in different ways.
BWK is a name that first appeared in the late 90s on the Zyklon B label and it’s nice to hear that his sound from back then has not been diluted over time with high tempos, grinding distortion and high pitched screeching combined with more experimental elements very much the order of the day. I’m particularly fond of “Le Depart” which starts with ominous synth tones before filtered loops of blur speed kicks start to battle it out and are used like a more ambient element that create a feeling of imminent eruption.
Satanoid is a name I first heard with his release on the consistently interesting entity.be netlabel last year. This is much more in the domain of La Peste, Atomhead/Diagnostic and Sedarka in that it is much more out there on an extreme flashcore / experimental tip. It is kind of like speedcore’s answer to free jazz? Stuttering kicks and machine gun speed drum loops trip over each other to a background of twisted sci-fi ambience. The tracks are constantly evolving in a way that is not at all dancefloor / DJ friendly but it’s great to hear such “out there” sounds being released on vinyl.
Finally label owner Messias with a two tracker which is the most dancefloor orientated of the three. Part 1 starts off with bubbling synth sounds and an atmospheric build up before the beat kicks in at somewhere over the 200 bpm mark. While the straight beats keep the track driving, there are a lot of more subtle percussive elements, atmosphere and melody which give it a “mystical” feel and make an enjoyable listening experience while still being very useful for the hardcore dancefloor. Part 2 seems to use pretty much the same sounds but has more evolving drum patterns that go from broken kicks into more detailed, super fast parts. About halfway through this all breaks down into a wicked dark synth melody which is gone way too quickly before going back into the hammering beats and a different melody. It’s nice to hear interesting things still happening at the more extreme end of the hardcore spectrum.
Undetected Act from the Gloom Chamber [BOIDAE 004]
After waiting patiently throughout 2017 for the arrival of a new Mover record, it finally appeared this year but was worth the slight delay as for me this is probably the most consistent album of the three. The release is split between 4/4 and electro style beats but is all cloaked in the retro futuristic vibe that the Mover has made his own. Other than the recent remix of Cassegrain, there hasn’t been much, if any, electro material from the Mover (possible Umwelt influence?) so tracks like “Shadow Deception”, “Lost” and “Stars Collapse” are probably the highlights on this release, although there is plenty more traditional Mover material that hits the spot with “Dark Comedown” “Doom Computer” and “Fire Cloud” all providing the kind of sound that should keep all old school Mover fans happy.
Mick Harris returns with his Fret moniker after last year’s massive “Over depth” LP with an EP for the L.I.E.S label. It’s not a great departure from the album as you would expect but it is definitely a bit more brutal with tracks “List is Full” and especially “Same Pegs” utilising punishing broken kick patterns and percussive battery in amongst Harris’ mixing desk sorcery. Delay, reverb and filtered sounds slithering all over the frequency range to the point where the tracks are packed full and some light fingered eq work is required when using any of these in the mix. Another instalment of lightless dancefloor destruction from the depths of Birmingham.
A follow up to the Hooker EP featuring remixes by Ontal, ANFS, Codex Empire and Oake. Ontal get things rolling with a power-packed double speed techno mix of “Shovel” which is one of the best things I’ve heard from them. It starts off quite minimal with ghostly percussive noises and background sounds until snares, metallic percussion and a high-pitched distorted riff combine to create a massive tune that’s great for doubling up the beats in a techno set. ANFS layers a thick midrange drone with screeching noise and a cut up amen break on his version of “Skewer”. Codex Empire uses a combination of sounds from “Skewer” and “Shovel” with broken kicks, hi hats and vocal snatches which is pleasant enough but never really takes flight for me. Oake take things in a more atmospheric direction with layers of creepy top end noise and evolving drum patterns to create a haunting take on “Hooker”, which is a fine conclusion to a highly recommended release.
A follow up to their debut ep on Mechanical Reproductions last year with an appearance on the “eclectic” Fuckpunk label. “Clanger” is a rough electro style banger that gradually picks up bass and noise textures as it continues. After a brief breakdown things return to business with a hint of strange melody in there. Top stuff. “May Day” is more in a noise hop style / tempo. Overdriven beats, bass, high pitched noise and some sections of almost inaudible vocals are soaked in effects to create an interesting sound collage that never stays the same for too long and sounds to me like it was done live. Whereas the first track kind of builds momentum, this one snakes around a bit and keeps a more free form feel. “May Day” (October dub) is a noise dub disco hybrid that has a basic kick and disco style synth riff surrounded by distorted bass, snares and more saturated, low key vocals. A weird combination that is strangely enjoyable. Finally Giant Swan turn in a remix of “Clanger” which keeps the electro feel of the original but is much more stripped down and brings warped vocal elements much more to the forefront as it progresses.
Chafik Chennouf & Katsunori Sawa:
Caused Corruption & Spilled Blood
Four tracks of twisted ambience, noise and atmospherics from Chennouf and Sawa for the second release on the Voidance label (the first by Meer is also worth a listen). This appears to be a conceptual release based on humanity’s flaws and destructive potential. I’ll just get on with describing what I hear! “Same Script, no Solution” starts reasonably subtly before a stretched vocal sample appears, followed by distorted low end rumbles and a varying mixture of disorientating elements which set the tone for what is to come. “Third Degree Arson” is more subdued and uses long reverbs and a more sparse mix to create an excellent, tense atmosphere. “No Divine Savior” juxtaposes religious chanting with a complex tapestry of bass, drones and tones that make this probably my favourite of the release. “Sects” finishes things with a less intense but still uneasy collage of sounds that slowly fade out to complete an EP of four deeply immersive cuts that you need in your life.
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