TASUKETEKUN: Electrical Lessons CDr Obfuscated Records
I kinda figured what this would sound like before I pressed play. Infinitely hard to review, this kind of Power Electronics requires a set mind frame to soak up the varying levels of pulsating destruction and to the casual listener this would be something to abhor.
For myself however, I have been exposed over many years to this approach to sonic terrorism and whilst I couldn’t listen to this every day, when it does come along I can appreciate it for what it is. Many of us have Merzbow albums and to be fair we all know a lot of them are complete bollocks if you really think about it; it’s whether its complete garbage that can be consumed because it has purpose, that counts.
‘Electrical Lessons’, tiptoes heavily like a drunken elephant between the two. On the one hand the electrical undercurrents and throbbing bass provide clever bedrocks of stability whilst chaos ensues above them; on the other hand there are moments where this becomes a pointless mass of writhing noise where the only lesson is that someone has too much time on their hands.
Obviously when attempting to produce something from this aspect of the genre, there are many that have come before and admittedly whilst it must be difficult to produce anything that truly breaks conventional boundaries, there also has to be the question of validity if there is nothing new to bring to the table; one thing is for certain though, Japan’s Tasuketekun truly is one noisy bastard.
TO THE LOVERS, FAREWELL: Banister to the Throne Room CDr Obfuscated Records
Visceral electronic stabs slice through the speakers the moment you hit play and whilst effective enough I really wanted this to come to some dramatic conclusion with rumbling bass and distorted vocalisations. Unfortunately this never came over the five minutes plus, that this track lasted and seamlessly this fell into more of the same come track two, for a further three minutes or so.
If anything good is to be said about ‘Banister…’ it’s that it made me laugh out loud at one point. TTLF has taken the ridiculous to the extreme with nothing more than varying degrees of electronic noise and whilst I appreciate this form of expression, for me it only has any impact if any other ingredients are mixed into the bowl.
There is literally nothing I can say more than what I already have about this release because of the lack of variation; I am still giggling about it now though and for all the wrong reasons.
CROWN OF BONE & WILT: Neurosis of Enthrallment CDr Obfuscated Records
Wilt is undeniably a veteran to the scene and has been responsible in the past for some of the better releases in the genre; for this reason alone this album automatically got my attention. Teaming up with Crown of Bone we have 2 individual solo tracks and one long monolith of collaboration at the end, with the mighty Wilt up first.
‘The Weight Of Chains Break The Backs Of Men’ carries an oppressive tone that matches its title. Understated Dark Ambient flows with rich dripping atmospherics seamlessly into it’s counterpart, ‘A Room With No Light Produces Hallucinations For the Beaten Down’ pretty much saying all that needs to be said about Wilt; it doesn’t take much to figure out.
On the flip side of the coin we have Crown of Bones. Literally the complete opposite of his partner in crime, we have two ferocious barrages of Power Electronics that are as multi-layered as they are bordering on unlistenable. However, a great deal of though has obviously gone into the madness and whilst two tracks are just about as much as I can endure in one sitting, they are palatable.
The title track itself combines both elements that make up these artists individually, with each subscribing to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Wilt provides the foundations whilst COB rises through towards the end to bring chaos and destruction to the proceedings. It’s not the mighty epitaph I expected, but will be a more than satisfying conclusion for any self-respecting PE fan.
MERZBOW / ACTUARY: Freak Hallucinations LP Obfuscated Records
Here we have one more release to add to the ever growing (at an alarming rate I may add) discography of Merzbow and this time it’s a split LP with Actuary. Comprising of one 18 minute long track by the former and three other tracks by his latest partner in crime it wasn’t going to take a genius this would be a noisy affair.
Taking Mr Akita’s Merzbow on can sometimes be as equally challenging as it is enjoyable; and until you hit play (or drop the needle in this case), you are never quite sure which side of the coin will land and whether it will be in your favour and ‘Sugamo Flower Festival’ must have been a horrid mass of weeds and thistles, because this is anything but pretty. Safe to say though, in this case as ridiculous as it sounds, there is a method to the unrelenting madness, with the blistering electronics kept to a level that is less torturous than a lot of his noise output and is effectively tempered with PE vocalisations; insane yes, but no less entertaining.
Actuary, if truth-be-told, are an act I haven’t had much exposure to. Over the course of the three tracks on offer, the listener is treated to a cross hybrid of resonating Dark Ambient backdrops and effective Power Electronics massaged brutality. Where a lot of PE wannabes think throwing a collection of noises together is enough to suffice, Actuary, appear to have their heads screwed on right. With every element pitched at just the right level, as not to out-do any particular cause, there is little to pick between the songs on display; but when they’re done well, there is little to grumble about.
All in all, this is a tidy addition to any self-respecting true industrial fans collection, with a complimentary blend of output from two artists who’s opposing styles make unlikely yet in some respects, obvious bedfellows.
PULSATING CYST: Horrible Signal 7” Obfuscated Records
Hurrah for vinyl! An even bigger hurrah for glow in the dark vinyl! I love the fact that someone out there is bothering producing 7”s nowadays and even happier with the effort over standard black wax.
A horrible signal this may be, but with 3 tracks of live action comprising of sub current electronics and low emitted frequencies warms the cockles for me somewhat when the mood takes me; even if the analogue emissions in the form of loud shrieking noises aren’t altogether my bag.
As with all formats of this ilk, the sheer lack of time you are given to soak it all up, provides a limited amount you can say about a release; the simplest thing to do of course is just to play the record again.
The beauty with ‘Horrible Signal’ is in fact, that it’s not that horrible. Yes, to a lot of people this will seem like a whole heap of pointless squelches and yes, this would probably work better sat in a dank underground club watching the artist perform with visual accompaniment. But as it stands this is a great little trinket to play on one of those vinyl days when you skip through your 7” collection from one record to the next going through as many as you can in one sitting; a surprisingly heart warming and pleasant listen that deserves numerous repeat plays, and wonderfully collectable too.