Another transmission broadcast from the burning skyline at the end of the world, this time the filth bubbling up from the underground and that’s probably how it should be. Some of this filth is pretty thought-provoking, but that’s probably also how it should be. When you stare into that abyss, that abyss might stick a rusty butter knife in your grey matter and start stirring some shit around.
First up is the new Annihilvs Power Electronix debut of NYC’s Swollen Organs. Noise in general has often delved into all sorts of extreme sexual behaviors for inspiration, and Swollen Organs does so as well, but on a more meta-level.
The harsh Power Electronics deployed here are heavily laden with samples detailing all kinds of deviant taboos and the like. Sole member Jimmy Aly doesn’t so much engage in the same sexual materials as other noise artists as he interrogates the trope itself. A good example is the fifth track, “Weakness Optimizes My Neglect”, which examines the phenomenon of blaming the victim in rape culture; it makes for a truly uncomfortable listen.
The audio component of the album is of course also punishing. Swollen Organs has a great feel for dynamics, with every terrorizing noise assault buffeted by more quiet, unsettling sections. The vocals are usually a bit subdued and give the impression of the late-night anonymous phone call from some pervert, whispering sweet nothings into the mouthpiece.
Stream the album here.
Next up is the new release from Concrete Mascara titled Perennial Disappointment due out on June 10th via Malignant Records. This New Jersey trio concocts a truly punishing collection sure to entice any fan of modern Power Electronics.
They cover a lot of ground here, from subtle and menacing Death Industrial moments to out-and-out eardrum-piercing shards of skree. Vocals sometimes gnash their way out from beneath the blankets of noise, screaming to be heard. The whole thing sounds like the dying gasp of humanity in some sort of post-apocalyptic nightmare.
Another fascinating gem that just dropped is a new 7″ featuring the poetry of Weird fiction pioneer (and compatriot of H.P. Lovecraft) Clark Ashton Smith. The reading is performed by controversial Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi, but what makes the release relevant for this particular column is the backing soundscapes provided by Theologian.
Theologian’s contributions are understated, yet succeed in brilliantly underscoring the spoken word. For anyone who listens to audiobooks, particularly those in the Horror or Weird Fiction genre, the accompaniment is so natural and enhancing one wonders why these types of collaborations aren’t more common.
Last up, is the newest release from C. Sydgodt, The Similarities between Feedback and Fucking. Some might find it a stretch to suggest Old School Noise possesses a meditative quality, but the genre has always seemed to be about walking a tightrope between stasis and change, riding the slow waves of constantly shifting textures of pulse, feedback, and drone. That is this release’s most arresting quality as it attempts to lure the listener into a trance over the course of its two roughly fifteen-minute tracks. The first piece is harsher and more traditional, while the title track seems to be the more Drone-inspired composition. Make no mistake, the textures are still harsh, but the effect is idiosyncratic.
This release was limited to a single physical copy, and we will assume that’s sold out. However, the digital version is available on Bandcamp and definitely worth checking out.
That’s going to do it for now. For anyone following these posts, thanks for taking the time to delve into this most peripheral of musical interests.
On a quick end note, in the past, this column has been attributed to Allen Griffin but that’s changing over to Todd Manning. I’m the same dude, just dropping the pen name. I’m holding on to the Allen Griffin name for my some of my fiction in the Horror and Weird Fiction genres, but switching over my music writing and other fiction to my real name.
Thanks again, looking forward to the next installment.