Name: Richard STEVENSON
On the front line: Since 1998.
Activities: Spectrum Magazine (1998-2001) – 5 print issues released; contributing writer to various publications (2001-2006); Noise Receptor Journal: print magazine & blog (2012 – present) – 3 print issues released to date.
Contact: www.noisereceptor.wordpress.com www.noisereceptor.bigcartel.com www.spectrummagarchive.wordpress.com
My ‘date’ receives anonymous 6 compositions picked by me at random. He/She is supposed to discuss their artistic merits, including strengths and weaknesses of applied means of bruitist expression, structure and composing techniques.
1. HIJOKAIDAN No Oslo No Harm
from “Polar Nights Live” (Pica Disk 2008) CD
This is a 26 minute live recording of a ‘noisecore’ type band, or a couple of ‘noise’ musicians (a duo for sure -perhaps a trio?). The material seems to be based around abstract guitars and screamed high pitched (female?) vocals, but with no discernible riffs or song structure, the guitar distortion is pushed into overblown, chaotic, harsh noise territory. As such the hectic strumming and/or hyper speed guitar noodlings are fed through distortion pedal treatment to in the most part create overblown, squalling noise (there may even be drums buried somewhere in there – but it is all too chaotic and overblown to tell!). Both harsh and unrelenting, this is typically not a style I am well versed in (nor actively listen to), which means it is difficult to offer a view on its artistic merit. Yet the extremely enthusiastic crowd noise at the end indicates it was well received at the time. A Japanese project perhaps?
2. BRIGHTER DEATH NOW Meat Improvement
from “Pain In Progress” (Cold Meat Industry 1988/1998) CD
Quite a ‘classic’ northern European industrial feel, where this track sounds like a precursor to what would later become the hallmarks of a death industrial style. This would also seem to be of a late 80’s/ early 90’s era, rather than being modern and knowingly ‘regressive’ in approach. The track is built around central pounding mid-paced programed beat, with treated sampled voices and low industrial hum creates a solidly dark atmosphere. This would be my top pick of the 6 tracks and with early MEGAPTERA coming to mind as a comparison, I am rather intrigued to who this could be!
3. Daniel MENCHE Furnace Fucker (Part 2)
from “Furnace Fucker” (G.R.O.S.S. 1994) cassette
A long track (in excess of 20 minutes) which presents a subdued industrial noise styled soundscape. A clinical undercurrent to the tone is present, whilst in the most part the track is based on muffled bass and rumbling waves of sound, mixed with a general mechanical churn. With a gradual shift in tone and sonic temperament over its length, the track pushes towards noisier realms as it progresses. Certainly an enjoyable track and definitely of the type of material I actively listen to. Likewise with a deliberate and controlled pacing of the material, it makes for solid and engaging listening over its length. I also get a passing impression I may have heard this before – where the Swedish artist JARL definitely comes to mind – but also I am not certain of this (…nor am I going to cheat by digging out JARL’s albums to check).
4. HANDS TO Untitled
from “Croatoan” (Alluvial Recordings 2001) CD-R
Another lengthy track at 27 minutes. Very electro-acoustic and minimalist in structure, seemingly based exclusively on natural field recordings, including the rumble of a distant storm, night time sounds of crickets/ frogs and water based sounds etc. Quite experimental yet also darkly toned in character, with the generated ‘mind’s eye’ picture revealing nature based night time vistas. Micro-tonal textures and scratching metallic elements are also sporadically used; as are large sections of almost silence (although in these quieter moments late night ‘dead hours’ urban sounds can be detected when the volume is increased). Given the field recording nature of this track this could perhaps be a track by Francisco LÓPEZ, although in selected ‘darker’ toned moments it brings to mind elements of NIELLERADE FALLIBILISTHORSTAR or OCHU. Generally enjoyable but I found my mind wandering away focussed listening during various moments.
5. BIG CITY ORCHESTRA Peek
from “eek!” (EE Tapes 1997) cassette
Well, it seems I have been given the blind date ‘endurance test’, as this is the 4th piece in excess of 20 minutes!! Another long form minimalist composition (29 minutes), which with its distant rumble and glacial pace might be best described as ‘industrial noise/ isolationist ambient soundscapes’, not too dissimilar to the long form minimalist works of ARCHON SATANI (later solo period), INANNA and NO FESTIVAL OF LIGHT etc. Actually this is not too dissimilar to the 3rd track reviewed above. Overall the piece embodies a dank and muffled sound, coupled with distant thuds and general mechanised hum. The bass addled churn increases towards the later third, including some elements of looped musical tunes being fed into the mix before abruptly cutting out again, although these elements tend to negatively jar the mood of the underlying elements. An OK piece overall and along the lines of what I like, but also not one to make much of a lasting impression for repeated listening.
6. BRUIT TTV Dissemination (extrait)
from “Bruit TTV” (Bruit TTV 1989) cassette
Goofy improvised music is the central flavour of the final track. Loose strummed and/ or noodling guitars are coupled with junk instruments/ kids toys which are ‘played’ for general chaotic weirdness. Basically I cannot stand this is the type of ‘experimental’ music, so I was exceedingly pleased that this track is around 2 minutes in length. Some might question why I choose to listen to power electronics, death industrial etc., but equally I would question who would find enjoyment and merit in this? Each to their own I guess; but as for artistic merit? Negligible.