KE/HIL: Zone 0 LP/CD Tesco Organisation
Ke/HIL is the latest project from B. Moloch and W. Herich, who have now hung up their well-worn Anenzephalia coats; and it’s not surprising to learn that there are similarities between the two projects, albeit with key subtleties.
‘Zone 0’ pertains to a geographical urban location that is given on an accompanying map; and if the music is anything to go by, it’s going to be one hell of a journey. Opening up with ‘Work.Church.Poverty’ we soon learn what this project is all about, with electronic structured clatters, grinding Power Electronics and experimental noise; but clinically polished, like a stripped down version of their previous outlet.
In contrast, ‘Passage’ utilises drone and Dark ambient, as a sinister bedfellow to the nightmare PE of the squelching demon that is ‘Bridges’ and the decay-ridden throb of ‘Infirmity Anthem’; and splits the album firmly in two.
‘Ghost of Common Past’ steadily marches as a protest in true Industrial fashion that differs from its counterparts; whilst ‘Children of the Devolution follows suit, taking on a more musical approach, courtesy of cinematic pads that ride the waves on a sea of black ambient.
The end comes in the form of radio interfered ‘Lifebuster’, which seals the album off perfectly. Thematically speaking, ‘Zone 0’ is the epitome of what drives the duo that produced the visceral ‘Anenzephalia’, dealing with social conforms and the issue of control; and here of course is where the parallels are drawn. However, musically speaking, marginal differences in sound give Ke/HIL a life of its own and more power to two of the genres long-termer’s, moving forward with a new lease of life.
ANENZEPHALIA: Instrumentalities (Singles collection 1991-2008) CD Tesco Organisation
Of course, many a genre out there release actual physical singles; but I cannot help draw a smile at a release, with a title that almost certainly mocks popular music and the flimsy “culture” within which it resides.
‘Instrumentalities’ is of course, the swansong of sorts for this popular (relative to the scene) outfit, who for many a year have terrorised the underground PE movement with their visceral array of uncompromising aural brutality and surprisingly complex musicality, which will only be appreciated by their hardcore following. Compiling tracks that were released on 7, 10 and 12-inch formats gives the uninitiated a second chance at soaking up what these guys were all about.
Cold and threatening there is much on here to absorb and enjoy; although with titles such as ‘Mechanical Rape’ and ‘Mindcancer’, this will only be by their rabid and loyal followers. However, this is just how the upper echelons of artists within the Power Electronics genre like it, as this keeps a steady longevity with little dilution amongst its ranks to pollute the cause.
As with a lot of projects out there, it’s always sad to see something of such worth come to an end. Anenzephalia though, will always be remembered for their controlled rage and complex swirls of noise ridden angst; and it is indeed better they go out on a high, rather than whimper and fade like so many before them.
PRURIENT: Annihilationist CD Functional Organisation
Released through Dominick Fernow’s own Hospital Productions label on cassette (yeah people still do this); and now via Tesco organisations ‘Functional’ sub-label on a listenable format, comes another item in the lengthy respected musical career of LA based noise producer, Prurient.
Seven tracks of pulsating industrial hums and black drones permeate the entire album. With a chamber like production (as though taking this in from afar) giving ‘Annihilationist’ a certain rustic charm, even this will only be appreciated by the most stringent of noise purists. It is none the less, actual ‘Industrial’ music in its truest form and regardless of whether this will appeal to the masses; it owes more to the genre than a load of growly demonic vocals over shoddy electronic beeps and beats.
In all fairness, I have a soft spot for Prurient; and even when not at his best, I can still appreciate the project. ‘Annihilationist’ is what it is though; a rough collection of tracks that still sound as grotty on CD as they do on tape. However, there is the undeniable allure from an album that compositionally feels very DIY.
One for the collectors rather than those who have not been initiated, there is still much on this release that any self-respecting Dark Ambient and Noise fan will relish (forgiving production levels); even if it doesn’t better a lot of Fernow’s previous work.
APOPTOSE: Ana Liil CD Tesco Organisation
I already own a couple of Apoptose albums; not all of them and it’s been a while I admit since I have listened to them. ‘Ana Liil’, their latest album makes me feel like I should get out those old releases and possibly stock up on my collection with those that I ashamedly don’t have.
‘Meer Der Ruhe’ opens up the album with a sparkling array of electronics and synth-work, with child-like female vocals that capture the heart emotively, whilst spangled chimes flitter around airily like spots of light through a dark veil.
In contrast, ‘Ich Verbrenne’ utilises folding ranging pads and adult female vocals that twist and turn amongst electronic percussion, blending neatly into the title track with its tribal beats, gentle piano and soundtrack driven backdrop; and side by side these two tracks are simply epic.
‘Ana Liil’ reeks of maturity from start to finish; layered like an almost perfectly baked cake there is a rich array of sounds that will agree with most palates. With a dark electronic web of sounds drawing on orchestral bombastic majesty (‘Adrenaline’), to Arcana style analogue construction (‘I Say Seven’); this latest album comes up trumps on every occasion.
Peculiar and obscure, yet hugely familiar, Apoptose are one of those acts that have sauntered along under most people’s radar for long enough and it’s about time that music fans picked up at least one of their releases (namely this one, with its lavishly designed digipak) to see what they’ve been missing out on.
THO-SO-AA: Sleeping Explorer 2xCD Tesco Organisation
This double disc affair indicates that this release is best experienced with the lights out and the volume on maximum. In fairness, this is usually when all manner of Dark Ambient releases shine at their brightest; and ‘Sleeping Explorer’ is the epitome of this.
Disc One comprises of five tracks all titled as ‘Slpr’. Deep, resonating waves filter through the haze whilst delayed chanting is kept to a minimum on ‘Slpr 1’; and over the course of nearly 18 minutes pull on an organic richness and quality, occasionally grinding into a bass driven hum whilst ghostly apparitions shine through the murky blackness.
‘Slpr 2’ lifts away from the earthly pit and ascends into the bleak clouds above. Resonating spectres flitter between the mists and echo endlessly whilst picking up a metallic, machine like constructive elements below, falling dramatically upon them on ‘Slpr 3’ as a sea of electronic interference. The next two tracks follow much on the same theme as though the listener is exploring a landscape built on everything witnessed previously; and is a lengthy but satisfying listen from start to finish.
If having one CD lengthier than most albums you will usually listen to, is not enough for you; then having another disc that is 57 minutes in length, is serious value for money. This time, there are seven tracks on offer, all under the title of ‘Xlpr’, and follow in much the same vein as its partner in crime. Once again, this is quality Dark Ambient at its finest, utilising many elements that whilst may have been heard before, are precise and hit the nail on the head as what a DA act should accomplish, or simply not bother at all.
All in all you cannot knock the commitment made by Tho-So-Aa, one jot. ‘Sleeping Explorer’ is a behemoth of layered depth and imaginative sounds that captivate and excite, whilst enveloping the listener in a blanket of inky bliss.
POST SCRIPTUM: Benommenheit CD Tesco Organisation
Opening up with a wall of industrial ambience, a barrage of clattering machinery, sampled vocals and resonating drones that is ‘Horrorbirth’ sets the stage for what is to come on this latest release from Post Scriptum.
‘The second track ‘W.A.L.S.C.H’ leads a steady march of reverberated beats and sinister pads and is an altogether more engaging track than its opening counterpart; revelling in mystery and intrigue and adding to the dark and disturbing soundtrack that emanates throughout ‘Benommenheit’.
Post Scriptum is a peculiar artist that whilst not providing any real killer individual song, does succeed in providing a sturdy release that keeps the listener on tenterhooks for the entirety of nine tracks over 55 minutes. It is an art to produce an album which has no filler; and there is a satisfaction upon completion of this latest album that is warranted.
‘Benommenheit’ doesn’t set the world alight by any means, but for all lovers of experimental Dark Ambient and Industrial wouldn’t go far wrong in picking this up, even if they won’t be left amazed at what they hear.
CONTRASTATE: A Live Coal Under The Ashes CD Tesco Organisation
A peculiar start with tribal smatterings of drums, deep resonating black drones broken up with light orchestral patches, attention halting splatters and further sparse drones, pulling on rather obscure nightmarish elements. Contrastate surprisingly draw on a hell of a lot of quietness that just rarely breaks up into beats that dissolve no sooner than they start.
After an interesting if not completely inspiring start its time for this trio to get down to business and actually show us what they are made of. Pleasant film like ambience sets this off with low-end straight vocal lines gathering the backdrop together and you begin to believe this album may actually be going somewhere, especially when the ambience is allowed to build dramatically onward.
Its a little hard to pigeon hole this lot and that’s where their appeal lies for me. There is a deep sense of ritualism within their folds, but it’s not as obvious as you might expect; another plus point being that they simply do not remind me of anyone else, no matter how hard I try to fathom it out.
There is an odd sense of mania whilst listening to ‘A Live Coal…’ strange whistling, off key guitar strings and trance like paranoia. I can’t help but applaud them for pulling something off that simply shouldn’t work on paper. The use of vocals, although male in origin are used much in the same way, as say Diamanda Gallas probably would with full on croaking used as a backdrop. Even if this isn’t your cup of tea it doesn’t take much to grasp just how much thought has gone into this.
Completely out there…somewhere, but relevant; refreshingly original, scoring highly on sheer thought process and effort alone.