Month: April 2014

BLIND DATE #10

Name: Pentti “UMPIO” DASSUM
Nationality: Finnish
On the front line: since ca. late 80’s punk awakening
Activities: Runs NEKOREKORDS. Multi-instrumentalist, focusing on junk metal percussion, self built nonstruments and junkstruments after many years of guitar and bass in several punk rock and experimental bands. Also a self-taught sound engineering and recording enthusiast who has recorded, mixed, and/or mastered over 100 finnish underground releases, and travelled with several bands as a FOH engineer.
Contact: http://www.umpio.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. CONTRASTATE In Absentia
from “English Embers” (Dirter Promotions 1994/1996) CD

This is just annoying. Horrible pastel-colored major seventh chords, painfully
slow pacing, and too much bad reverb, bad flute impro and somebody
shaking their car keys for ritual bells. If this turns out to be some
legendary kvlt artist then he/she/they sure make it impossible for me to
dig it. Argh. Maybe it was more interesting for them than it is for me.

2. MASONNA Untitled
from “Mademoiselle Anne Sanglante Ou Notre Nymphomanie Aureole” (Alchemy Records 1993) CD

Well, MASONNA. Nowadays I wish it was recorded through amps in a room
to avoid the line-in hygiene, but you can only worship the crunchy
moments when it shifts and collapses and crunches like a hippo coming
through the wall. Makes me think also of that Yamatsuka EYE video from
early 90’s where he’s alone with a 58 and a pedal on stage…. Lucas
ABELA is carrying this flag amazingly, mike muncher with fx belt!!

3. CHAOS AS SHELTER Seven Steps Towards The Rainbow
from “Devil’s Brothers” (Ignis Records 2000) CD-R

I like dark ambient stuff a lot, but, as crazy as this sounds, this
has too much reverb again to my values of grumpy old man. As with some
of my own older works, I wish there was some outside ear telling
me/everyone else too to make the ambience on a compositional niveau
instead of turning up the echo fx. The “ahlams” at the end make me think
of MUSLIMGAUZE… Also a twofold blade, cos nowadays i really hate all
this intifada-melancholy (?or whatever “etno”?) element in music, but
sometimes it’s just so necessary to listen to eastern masters like Rabih
Abou-Khalil or Nusrat Fateh Ali-Khan and forget all misery created by
humanity, which is a fuckin lot. Anyway, I like my eastern mystics
separate haha.

4. INCAPACITANTS Peony Crackers Pt. 6
from “Pariah Tapes (Eternal Paralysis Part 2)” (Freak Animal Records 2006) 5 x CD

Guitar noise…. The deepest swamp. Hmm, as a one-take-recording jam
there’s a lot going on, but I would totally recommend taking this piece,
splitting it in half and layering the parts to create wilder dialog, and
make it shorter. Look man, I started with guitar myself, but nowadays
it’s uninteresting for me. Maybe sometime next decade or so, who
knows… But as a display of wierd pedals and fx this is amusing. And
much better to have it like this than the dooooomy metal riff thing. And
what’s with the wierd military episode towards the end? Also, it’s more
fun to see what’s goin on than “just” listen.

5. ILLUSION OF SAFETY Instinct
from “Inside Agitator” (Complacency 1992) CD

Ah this started so well… The dystopian electroacoustix, the
narrative, the choice of sounds, just what the doctor ordered….
Until…. the embarassing EBM/lederhosen episode starts and flushes me
back to remember why I hated “industrial” music for so long. If this
track/album was like the beginning part, then it would be awesome! I
like much more the aspect of music that helps me forget the existence of
human beings than the elements that remind me of it.

6. TAINT Gross Postmortem Mutilation (Extract)
from VA: DUST CLAIMS DUST (Hyde Recordings 1992) cassette

Xlent lofi crumble! Here the repetition/looping is not annoying at
all, cos there is so much destruction and lunacy on top of it. Howlin at
the moooon, reminds me of ETANT DONNES…. this is really tasty stuff
and easily my favorite of the bunch. Dirty and insane disco from hell!!

Blind Date #10

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LE SYNDICAT & SEKTOR 304: Geometry Of Chromium Skin – Review

LE SYNDICAT przód okładka LE SYNDICAT tył okładka

LE SYNDICAT & SEKTOR 304
Geometry Of Chromium Skin
Rotorelief 2013
LP

This release brings about many reflections. Not only those about its aesthetic aspect but also those referring to its cultural significance, as it seems to be located somewhere on the fringes of contemporary independent music. That is considerably due to the distinguished French industrial music veterans LE SYNDICAT, recently revived although about 20 years ago the project seemed to have definitely ceased musical operations, having used up its potential. Active since 1982, it has evolved stylistically in the directions that didn’t necessarily satisfy audiences. The group’s undisputed leader, RUELGO, has meandered in his pursuit after the optimal language of bruitist expression into various areas, see ‘Festin D’Acier’ and ‘Propagation’ released in 2010, which rather dampened than aroused the initial enthusiasm about LE SYNDICAT’s comeback after a long hiatus.

It isn’t him, however, who was the prime mover behind this album but a drummer João FILIPE of the SEKTOR 304 duo (where his partner is André COELHO, also of KULT, and others), dealing in the means of expression of the industrial avant-garde of rock music. While their relation, initiated following a long-time fascination of the two Portuguese with LE SYNDICAT’s work, is exclusively of virtual nature, the artistic result of this long-distance co-operation seems generally successful for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it deftly marries digital sound processing and electroacoustic collage techniques with analogue sound of conventional acoustic instruments and metallic sounds of self-made percussion instruments. Secondly, its multi-thread and elaborate sonic narration is painstakingly executed, with moderate use of loops and repetitions. And thirdly, considerably owing to guest appearance from a promising avant-garde drummer Gustavo COSTA, it makes a versatile use of irregular rhythm sequences of varied tonality.

Rhythm also serves another, possibly a greater purpose here. It acts as a bonding agent between the chaotic ambience sounds and a wide palette of dissonant feedback, processed vocals, dark reverbs and low-range electronic static. This, however, raises doubts related to a broader issue in industrial music: is rhythm a formally justified tool for control over noise? This release clearly shows an effective and impressive instance of taming of noise but that in turn may make you wonder whether the chief attributes of noise – rawness and unpredictability aren’t eliminated as a result. The concerns mount up if you give a closer look to the role rhythm plays in particular tracks, its forwardness (‘Geometry Of Chromium Skin’), and synthetic tonality in some places (‘Fallout’). Although the rhythm here is structurally irregular and sufficiently varied, its dynamics seems to overwhelm the other elements of sonic expression, as in ‘Mannequin,’ a composition which evolves splendidly but only up to a certain point.

The album is a contemporary homage to the industrial music artists of the first half of the 1980s, retaining a modicum of stylistic autonomy. You can’t miss the references to EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN, S.P.K., TEST DEPT or to LE SYNDICAT itself, whose bruitism was permeated with human sweat, dirt, and lunatic spontaneousness. Sadly, it is also a bitter reminder that the industrial music of the 1980s is irrevocably gone. It is one of the anonymous many that are a testament of a kind of cultural decline, resulting from overproduction, information overload, and blind pursuit of technological progress.

Paradoxically, the cultural decline is the chief theme here – the atmosphere of civilisational barrenness and soulless technologisation, leading to unavoidable disintegration and annihilation. The eschatological aspect of the album is emphasised through spoken vocals from Manuel NETO, vocals from Antonia REIS intertwined with antimusical textures, which imitates religious transcendence, and references to Nordic mythology (‘Valhalla Errectum’).

Standard packaging. The artwork, indicative of the musical content, was designed by the members of SEKTOR 304 and is a colouristically minimal collage of wrecked cars, fingerprints, abstract deformations, and subtle yellow and red colouration. The liner notes provide exhausting information on the background of the album, mastering, personnel, and instruments and devices used.

Ratings:
CRITERION OF AESTHETIC VALUES: 7
CRITERION OF ORIGINALITY: 6
CRITERION OF COMMUNICATION: 8
CRITERION OF ARTWORK: 5
Total: 6,5