(Early last month Allen Griffin brought us a round-up of three power electronics releases, and that provoked enough interest that he returns with another collection.)
It is time once again to go trawling around the abyssal outside of the Extreme Music scene to find the harsh and unknowable. But what is somewhat surprising this time around is how much some of these releases are popping up in more conventional circles.
THE BODY AND FULL OF HELL
Case in point is the new collaboration between The Body and Full of Hell titled One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache, out on March 25th via Neurot. Despite being classified as a Grindcore/D-Beat band, Full of Hell are no strangers to harsh sonic abstraction and worked with Merzbow on their previous album. The Body are also no strangers to collaboration, bringing in guests on almost all their releases. What we have here is an intermingling of The Body’s punishing Industrial aesthetics with Full of Hell’s more experimental noise-based side.
While firmly rooted in a Power Electronics sound palette, the two groups employ a wide range of tools, including blast beats, tribal-style drumming, spoken word, and even hints of Laurel Halo or Andy Stott-style electronica to create a release that is completely unpredictable. The first “single”, if you can call it that, is a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “The Butcher”, but this version would fit right in the latest Ten Thousand Miles of Arteries album.
UPDATE: The full album is now streaming HERE.
BORIS AND MERZBOW
Next is another high profile collaboration, this time between Boris and Merzbow with their release Gensho, courtesy of Relapse Records. These two unstoppable forces have collided before on releases such as 2005’s Sun Baked Snow Cave, 2009’s Rock Dream, and 2013’s Megatone. On Gensho, the pair each recorded sets of tracks that are meant to be played simultaneously alongside each other. Once the technical difficulties of this process are overcome, the results are quite mind-blowing.
For their part, Boris reinterpret their own tracks, but in a more spacious and drumless manner. Sometimes, these are barely songs at all, while at other times they are mellow little psyche-tunes, and still other moments resemble Sunn O)))-style drones.
Merzbow’s contributions obviously are more noise-oriented. And while these tracks are certainly harsh, they seem more concentrated on the higher-pitched frequencies and less on subharmonic pummeling. The end result is an atmosphere dripping with brutal psychedelic madness, containing much of what Noise fans are seeking, but also with an unusual mood all its own.
Now to touch on some more underground-oriented stuff. Big Pharma Records is a brand new label with a stated of mission of “Continuing a rich tradition of Midwestern experimental music”. I had a chance to check out a couple of releases and hope to dive deeper into their quickly growing catalog as soon as possible. First up, was a reissue of Bonemagic‘s 2015 album All Souls Should. This release combines Noise with Industrial and Dance beats in a style not entirely unlike Prurient‘s latest work. This approach is so effective in bringing across the more decadent and creepy vibe of this style of music that a shower usually won’t help cleanse this kind of filth, and I mean that in the best way possible.
Big Pharma has also released several recordings from The Contraktor. Here, we dive head-first into more traditional Harsh Noise. Albums such as The EP Collection is pure speaker-shredding bliss, and anyone who has put in their time with such forefathers as Masonna or The Incapacitents will find much to love here.The Contraktor seems to have a particular talent for changing textures and dynamics often and effectively, keeping the listener’s attention at all times. This is some of the best traditional Noise I’ve heard in quite awhile.
All of Big Pharma’s releases are set to the “Name Your Price” level on Bandcamp and certainly worth checking out.
This about sums it up this time around. It is fascinating to watch Extreme Music continue to push the bleeding edges ever further, and if the first two records mentioned above are any proof, these sonic extremities are certainly gaining a wider audience who are ready to plunge ever deeper into the abyss.