Friday, June 28, 2013

torso - archive one.

Torso - Archive I


113.45 MB

1. Untitled
2. Untitled
3. Untitled
4. Untitled
5. Untitled
6. Untitled
7. Untitled
8. Untitled
9. Untitled
10. Untitled
11. Untitled
12. Untitled

torso's first archive tape is another excellent release from total black in conjunction with electric voice records. I know I've said it before, but total black never ceases to amaze me. every new release is better than the last in every way - from the music to the packaging - and when you start with âmes sanglantes and cremation lily, that's a nigh-impossible feat. honestly, I can't give brett and his label enough praise, especially after the rita's wonderful second retrospective, and you all should be buying his releases.

but I digress...back to to torso: collecting some of the artist's unreleased recordings over the last dozen years, this compilation is perfectly sequenced and sounds great. the tracks range from droning, almost melodic, electronics compositions to wild, frenzied power electronics with harsh and distorted vocals.

the packaging for this one is also a high-point. the single cassette tape comes in a black bag with multiple inserts with a cover stapled on to the bag's exterior. some copies even come with bullet casings fired by the artist, but I wasn't lucky enough to get any in my copy.

although it's currently sold out at total black (what isn't?), copies do seem to be available from electric voice via the link below. definitely jump on this one as soon as possible - it's more than sixty minutes long and with such a great variety of sounds from just one artist, there's no way you can go wrong. plus, you'll be supporting small independent labels, and isn't that the whole point?

you know, besides the music.

*a quick note: track eleven cuts out a couple of times. I don't know if this is due to an error in the dubbing or just the nature of the source material, but it's present on my copy and has nothing to do with the rip itself.

(buy a copy from electric voice records.) 

(for preview purposes only.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

the rita / caligula031 - self shop.

The Rita / Caligula031 - Self Shop


54.34 MB

1. The Rita - Mouths On Nylon, Hour Transaction
2. Caligula031 - Lady Vukovar

released on nil by mouth recordings a little more than a month ago, "self shop" went up for sale in the last total black store update and quickly sold out. lately, I've been listening to every release by the rita that I've been able to find and couldn't resist the urge to pick this one up - especially since it has such..."interesting" packaging.

sam mckinlay's side as the rita definitely doesn't disappoint. the samples, usually fully distorted into pure static, are strangely audible and provide an interesting counterpoint to the harsh noise wall that is there. it makes for a much more dynamic, and less hypnotic, track than mckinlay's work is usually known for.

caligula031 were new to me, but thankfully they've got a bandcamp page in case you want to get acquainted with some of their previous material. right now they only samples available for streaming, but it's better than nothing.

in contrast to the rita's harsh noise wall, caligula031's track is less harsh but just as unforgiving. it's nearly fifteen minutes of droning power electronics and chaotic, distorted vocals. both tracks compliment each other quite well and make this a split that will surely be on one of my year-end lists.

and, of course, I would be remiss not to mention the packaging. in addition to the translucent red cassette in a standard case with a full-color j-card, there's also a second booklet featuring a lengthy piece of prose, and the whole package comes tucked inside of a nylon knee-high stocking - definitely unique and a perfect fit, considering the subject matter.

overall, this is a great tape that any harsh noise fan would be proud to add to his or her collection. as I mentioned earlier, copies are sold out at total black, but those of you in europe (or elsewhere with a ton of money to spend on shipping) should grab one from the label while it's still in stock. and there's one copy for sale on discogs, so grab it quickly - this is one that you won't want to miss.

(for preview purposes only.)

Friday, June 21, 2013

solhverv - tågernes årtusinde.

Solhverv - Tågernes Årtusinde


93.43 MB

1. Tågernes Årtusinde
2. Helvedeskedlen
3. Urtidens Ekko
4. Månens Skygge
5. Blodig Hævn
6. Under Dødens Grumme Svøbe
7. Gravkammerets Gru
8. Alt Ondt Skal Komme Fra Norden
9. Glams Øjne

it's been a long time coming, but I finally obtained a copy of solhverv's first and only full-length, "tågernes årtusinde."

released in 1996 by euphonius records, a danish label, this album features studio versions of many of the tracks that were previously found on posh isolation's solhverv demos compilation, "94/96 sessions."

despite being close to twenty years old, this material (just like the demos compilation) still holds up remarkably well today. it all sounds great and any fan of old-school or modern black metal should be able to find something to like here.

as strange as it may seem, this album was only released on cd, so there's no obscure vinyl or cassette version to track down. but if you do want the cd, a couple are available on discogs. they're not exactly cheap as far as used cds go, but at least it's something.

sorry, but there's not a whole lot more for me to say about this one - just check out this hidden gem full of absolutely stellar old-school danish black metal and see for yourselves.

(for preview purposes only.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

vast glory - fluorescent light.

Vast Glory - Fluorescent Light


59.62 MB

1. Fluorescent Light
2. Sound Out Of A Corner

one of the finest purveyors of harsh noise wall around, vast glory (a.k.a. ian mcdonald) recently released this tape through total black, a label that's quickly becoming one of the best in the noise game.

the first track begins with what sounds like a squalling wind with electronics buried deep in the background. but over the course of the next roughly sixteen minutes, those electronics slowly build up and eventually envelope everything.

the second track is almost the inverse, getting to the harsh noise rather quickly before before slowly, almost glacially, receding into another howling, electronic wind.

it's a great release that should definitely satisfy fans of the genre, but it'll also make a solid starting point for anyone unfamiliar with the vast glory discography. unfortunately, it's sold out from the label so keep an eye on discogs.

for more vast glory, check out mcdonald's soundcloud, where you can even download a couple releases for free, as well as on the board, another fine blog with a rip of the "airequipt circular magazine" double cassette release.

(for preview purposes only.)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

bilirubin - bilirubin.

Bilirubin - Bilirubin


19.36 MB

1. Antique Marvel
2. A Monk's Room
3. Building Buttresses

in honor of the fantastic black twilight circle show that went down in los angeles last night, here's the first and only demo from bilirubin. after arizmenda performed, my eardrums were just about destroyed...but it was still a great show filled with tons of atmosphere, energy, and enthusiastic fans.

this demo will definitely appeal to any and all fans of the crepusculo negro and rhinocervs sound - very lo-fi and raucous - and if I didn't know any better, I'd think they were part of the same scene...but according to metal archives, they're from north carolina. regardless, they certainly have the same ferocious spirit.

copies of this demo can be found on discogs so pick it up if you like what you hear - it's short but sweet.

tour dates are in the above poster and individual show fliers can be found on the crepusculo negro blog. those of you in the oakland/san francisco area are in for a treat as lycus and fell voices are both joining in on the action. and salem, oregon...well, that festival just looks unbelievable. most dates have a local or semi-local opening act, so don't miss this tour when it rolls through your town.

(link removed by request.)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

purple light - walk with me in the purple light.

Purple Light - Walk With Me In The Purple Light


20.09 MB

1. Walk With Me In The Purple Light (The Rule)
2. Walk With Me In The Purple Light (II)

locust leg is the new imprint from colloquial sound recordings, a label with which I'm sure you're all familiar. the first three locust leg titles went up for sale in the most recent CSR update and they're currently all sold out, and that shouldn't be a surprise since there were only 17 copies of each.

this tape is the third release, purple light's "walk with me in the purple light." since there's no information about who is responsible for the power electronics contained within these two tracks, I'm forced to assume it's the man behind CSR and a pregnant light, damian master. APL has been a force to be reckoned with over the last two years or so, with every new tape getting better reviews than the last. he's already branched out into electronics via a pair of bodystocking recordings released by strange rules, and if these new locust leg releases are any indication, he's got a lot more in the pipeline.

while there isn't a whole lot here in terms of time, the music is so dense and unrelenting that it's more than worth the price of admission. I'd say that it's similar to some cremation lily recordings but with an entirely unique feel that really sets the whole tape apart and makes both purple light and locust leg worth keeping an eye on...but that should already be obvious.

copies are sold out from the label but add it to your wantlist on discogs...maybe a copy will show up for sale at some point.

and if anyone wants to share the other two locust leg releases, please let me know.

(for preview purposes only.)

Monday, June 10, 2013

osskull - to noisetherion.

Osskull - To Noisetherion


66.54 MB

1. Abrupt Rush Of Air
2. Neu Neu
3. Monster Liquid
4. Bouncing On Vinyl 1
5. Bouncing On Vinyl 2
6. Kannon
7. Evil Cuica
8. To Noisetherion

despite having such an awkward name, italian label a dear girl called wendy is putting out some startlingly good noise music. with releases from john wiese, sewer election, alleypisser, and others under their belts, those in charge certainly have great taste.

with that said, they also released the debut recordings from osskull, also known as giovanni torregrossa, also known as ampconstrictor, last year. these two clear tapes come housed in a small but stylish reel-to-reel-style box with absolutely no information other than the artist, the name of the album, and the track titles - so the listener is essentially a blank canvas for the imminent auditory assault.

these thirty-three minutes and change are absolutely first-rate harsh noise that sounds very metallic, very electronic, and very cathartic. I don't really have much to say other than that I highly recommend picking this up. it's sold out from experimedia, so discogs is your best bet - it's a little more pricey but not by much, and it's still worth every penny.

if you like what you hear from osskull, be sure to check out the heinz hopf record that a dear girl called wendy released in 2011 over at the always-excellent bleak bliss. and enklav, who were featured on järtecknet's svenska dokument compilation, also have a full-length out on the label. up next, a dear girl called wendy will be releasing records from posh isolation mainstay LR and hospital productions veteran ahlzagailzehguh, both of which can be sampled on the label's soundcloud.

as always, do everything you can to pick up a physical copy of any release that you like. they may be difficult to track down but most are available on discogs, and for very fair prices. this is a great label that's only going to get stronger.

(for preview purposes only.)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

formative films - cries and whispers.

cries and whispers wasn't the first ingmar bergman film I saw - like most aspiring film students, that honor belongs to his seminal the seventh seal. but cries and whispers distills everything great about bergman's body of work into one perfect film - philosophical questions of identity, the desire for redemption, and stunningly beautiful camera work and set design all combine to make a film that's as visually beautiful as it is thematically interesting. and it was released to critical acclaim - despite financiers' worries that it wouldn't perform well in america, critics loved the film and it won the academy awards for best cinematography and best foreign film in 1974, while also being nominated for several others.

the first thing that anyone will notice about this film is the color palette - specifically, red, white, and black. bergman's use of these colors is so layered and imbued with meaning that I could write an entire paper on it. and I did do just that, in a scandinavian cinema class I took at tisch, so I won't expound on it here. and since I don't have a copy of it anymore, I won't be able to post excerpt, for which I'm sure you're all very disappointed.

instead, let's focus on the new depths to which bergman ventures into his traditional theme of familial responsibility. throughout his work, family has always played a crucial role - just look at scenes from a marriage, fanny and alexander, or the virgin spring. family can unite and destroy, family can be a refuge from the outside world, or something we run from and try to leave behind. here, however, bergman takes a different road, and it's one to which almost all of my own work relates - the divergent roads that family members can take, leading them from a common beginning to vastly different ends.

throughout the film, bergman incorporates flashbacks depicting the three sisters - agnes, karin, and maria - growing up with their distant mother. in the present timeline, the sisters are all surrounded by memories of childhood - dolls, photographs, mementos of their mother - and these often leads the viewer into and out of the flashbacks.

but as the film progresses, so do the flashbacks, eventually leading us to other formative moments along the sisters' lives - arguments with husbands and affairs with lovers, for example - that begin to illuminate the various points of divergence throughout their lives. and when they are forced back to their childhood home to care for their ailing sister who never suffered the same tribulations, everything starts to come out.

and they don't like what they see.

maria and karin regard agnes with nothing but contempt, finally having been confronted with the disparity between what they'd hoped for themselves versus what their lives have truly become. in one early seen, karin looks over a dollhouse she had as child, filled with a happy family of dolls that have everything they could ever want. soon after this scene, and agnes takes a turn for the worse, we get a flashback detailing maria's own home life as an adult, and it's a far cry from any child would ever envision as a "happily ever after."

this desire to trace characters from a common starting point all the way to what will always be very divergent endpoints has always fascinated me. at it's most base, it one of the reasons I love to re-watch films - to see that character's transformation through the narrative arcs. but I love it even more when that's the whole point (or at least one point) of a film - how a character moves from innocence to awareness - and it's precisely that journey that's so important.

when an artists opts to juxtapose a character before his journey with that same character after the journey and we see drastic physical and emotional differences, that's opens up a whole world of story possibility for the gap between the two.

the challenge for the artists, the writer, the filmmaker, then, is to play with that traditional hero's journey and make it into something new, something unique. bergman's work was primarily internal - his characters battled their own internal forces instead of the more traditional external forces from which hollywood refuses to deviate.

young writers today are taught to focus on those externalized conflicts - after all, it's exceedingly difficult to visualize an internal conflict - but that reliance on creating more traditional, and, I must say, easy, conflicts contributes to the dearth of quality material that's able to reach and find a large audience. as hollywood has become reliant on traditional narrative arcs, so have audiences, and anything that deviates from this path is met with distain or, even worse, indifference.

and isn't that, ultimately, indicative of the era in which we're living? everyone wants a quick fix, something that makes them feel good, something that reassures them. and that's exactly the problem - if we all took a cold, hard look at ourselves, we wouldn't like what we'd see. but maybe we'd force ourselves to mount up the courage to change, instead of falling back into what makes us feel good, what helps us forget our problems.

forcing the cycle to continue.

(buy a copy of the criterion dvd from amazon.)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

wold - freermasonry.

Wold - Freermasonry

135.72 MB


1. Opening
2. SOL
3. Free Goat Of Leviticus
4. Annex Axe
5. Dragon Owl Didacticism
6. Working Tools For Praxis
7. Dry Love
8. Free Eyes
9. Freermasonry
10. Concordant Body

first released by profound lore at the end of 2011, wold's "freermasonry" garnered too many scathing reviews to list here. although some were positive, most found it to be drastically inferior to the band's earlier output due to an increased reliance on repetitive waves of harsh noise and a sharp decrease in material that could be (even tangentially) viewed as black metal.

well, stephen o'malley's ideologic organ label has finally released "freermasonry" on vinyl, so let's take a minute to reexamine the record in a new light. also, there's a bonus track exclusive to this vinyl version, so that's why I'm posting it.

my girlfriend described this record as sounding like a haunted house, and I think that's pretty apt. while listening to this album I'm reminded of wandering through creaky, darkened corridors, strobe lights flashing, terrified of what lurks around the next corner. it's all very hypnotic, grating, and repetitive - this final quality being one of the most heavily-criticized aspects of the album upon its initial release.

but I think that's the point. we all know wold can mix things up if they want to, so the repetitive quality and same-ness of these tracks can't be an accident. and through the first few listens, it's understandable that this is all one may hear - but give it a few more listens, take it all in, and you'll soon notice subtle changes beneath the chaotic surface.

honestly, this album has a lot more in common with harsh noise wall than black metal, even noisy black metal, and I think that change contradicted many reviewers' preconceived notions of what the album would sound like. but instead of accepting it as something new, all people could focus on was the lack of black metal, the lack of riffs, the lack of something familiar.

wold have evolved their own sound and taken it in a drastically different direction that, understandably, turned a lot of people off. harsh noise and especially HNW can be extremely difficult for the uninitiated to hear, especially in the context of such a lengthy album. if you hated this album when it was first released, this vinyl version (and bonus track) probably won't do a lot to change your mind. but try to go into it with no genre-specific expectations and I think you'll find something with myriad redeeming qualities.

and if you, like me, were already a fan of the album, well, pick up a copy right now. the packaging is fantastic, the sound is perfect, and it'll make an excellent addition to any collection.

(buy a copy from experimedia.)

(for preview purposes only.)

Monday, June 3, 2013

vestigial limb - now, voyager.

Vestigial Limb - Now, Voyager


52.78 MB

1. Untitled
2. Untitled

vestigial limb have a very unique spin on traditional harsh noise that maintains a surface familiarity while adding actual instrumentation underneath. this tape, released by monorail trespassing in 2010, presents two lengthy tracks that are a truly fascinating listen.

upon opening the case and examining the j-card, I saw that ray shinn, the man behind vestigial limb, is credited not only with electronics and tapes, but also with electric bass - definitely not an instrument that's usually associated with harsh noise.

but it works. there are strange rhythms lurking beneath all of the noise and static and samples, and the backbone is that bass. sometimes it's clanging and discordant, sometimes it almost resembles a real riff, but it's always there and adds a very unique  much-needed dimension to what would otherwise be fairly standard harsh noise...not that there's anything wrong with standard harsh noise, I just love it when an artist has the guts to bring something new to the table, and shinn not only brings something new, he makes it work flawlessly.

needless to say, this tape - just like my previous monorail trespassing post - comes highly recommended, and I can't wait to pick up more releases from this absolutely fantastic label.

(buy a copy from monorail trespassing.)

(for preview purposes only.)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

diagram: a - guts : render.

Diagram: A - Guts : Render


156.85 MB

1. Untitled
2. Untitled
3. Untitled
4. Untitled
5. Untitled
6. Untitled

let's start june off with a bang of excellent harsh noise, courtesy of dan greenwood's diagram: a project. this is a triple c30 of cut-up source material that's been completely reshaped into something entirely new.

each tape is composed of material taken from other musicians and collaborations that greenwood then (I can only assume) rearranges, remixes, and destroys. the result is very glitchy noise with an occasional ambient drone thrown into the mix and I happen to think that it's all first-rate stuff.

prior to this set, I had never heard of diagram: a nor greenwood, but check out his blog - it's fascinating and features photos of the many machines he builds in order to perform the sounds featured here. there's also a section featuring his collage-based artwork and info on many of his releases. he's also collaborated with dominick fernow, and that's never a bad thing.

there's one copy for sale on discogs right now, so be sure to jump on it if you like what you hear. I've been hard-pressed to find any other rips on the net, but stop by greenwood's official soundcloud to hear samples from some of his other "guts" tapes that can be purchased for only $6 each, including shipping to the united states.

if you've actually checked any of the above links, it should go without saying that he's an artist worthy of your time and money, so do what you can to support dan greenwood and his art.

(for preview purposes only.)