Thursday, August 29, 2013

violent pink - in currents.

Violent Pink - In Currents


51.94 MB

1. Father/Pasture
2. Cambridge/Letter
3. River
4. Dalton
5. Currents
6. Sister

released by waterpower in 2011, violent pink's in currents is nearly thirty minutes of stirring and grating power electronics. squalls of static merge with caustic, hate-filled vocals over this double-cassette box set to form a troubled, apocalyptic vista.

the artwork and packaging are up there with the other waterpower releases - stark, minimal black and white artwork with an equally minimal insert.

I really don't have too much to say about this one. if you've enjoyed any of waterpower's previous releases, this is a no-brainer. and if you're somehow unfamiliar with the label, this is as good a place to start as any. fans of cremation lily, as well as prurient's more harsh work, will feel right at home here.

it's sold out from the label but check out discogs - it's surprisingly affordable.

(for preview purposes only.)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

wet nurse - victim of apology letter.

Wet Nurse - Victim Of Apology Letter


18.26 MB

1. A Rose Amongst Thorns
2. Deflowered

winnipeg-based noise label male activity isn't shooting to the top quite as quickly as, say, total black, but this still-fledgling label is slowly but surely churning out some really solid tapes with increasingly excellent packaging. after being pleased with the previous tape I picked up, my friend at black metal and brews reviewed a couple of the newer ones and inspired me to make another purchase.

this tape, limited to just twenty copies, is a short-but-sweet ten minutes of haunting noise with some nicely layered vocals. the first track has an industrial edge, with male and female vocals in a call-and-response pattern. the second track is a little more ambient and features only the male vocals, and compliments the first track perfectly.

the packaging, as mentioned above, is excellent. the tape and info card come in a sealed, oversized envelope with a handful of dried flower petals and stems. it perfectly captures (and adds to) the mournful, depressed atmosphere of the music.

there are two other wet nurse releases on male activity, one of which is available from the label, the other of which is sold out and thus only available on discogs. this release, and many other male activity tapes, are shockingly cheap and would all make great additions to any collection.

(buy a copy from male activity.)

(for preview purposes only.)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

house of leaves - a critical analysis.

House Of Leaves

Mark Z. Danielewski

as promised a few days ago, here is a look at one of my favorite books. much like any of my "formative films" or any album that left an indelible mark on me, I remember exactly when and where I first experienced mark z. danielewski's house of leaves. as luck would have it, this was also around the time that I started listen to heavier and more extreme music. my own art, while always dark, began to take on a much more deliberate and calculated nature, not leaving anything to chance or circumstance.

but my personal connection to this book and it's influence on my own work is not the subject of this post. instead, I'm going to take a look at what the book itself says about the fields of film and literary theory and criticism. through the use of varying typography, footnotes linking to obscure and diverse philosophical texts, and critical interpretations of "the navidson record," what is danielewski saying about the world of academia? what is he saying about those who critique instead of create?

like any great work of art, house of leaves can be taken at face-value and appreciated as nothing more than a fantastic, multi-layered story filled with complex characters and a mind-bogglingly creative setting. when one begins to peel back the layers, not just those of story but those of structure, the book slowly reveals itself as a critical reaction to the varied fields of art criticism. as any fan of danielweski knows, the guy is smart. and not just in the "tortured genius artist" kind of way - he's incredibly well-read, and knows every different class of film theory, from psychoanalytic to apparatus to auteur. having studied literature at yale and cinema at USC, he has no excuse not to know these differing theories. but unlike most cinematologists and literary critics, he's a creator, not just an interpreter. 

the foremost problem with most theoretical and critical disciplines is simple and yet frighteningly important: most critics do not create. they learn to analyze, interpret, hypothesize, and reach conclusions without any idea of what goes in to the actual creation of that piece of art they're so quick to categorize. as a cinematologist myself, I can attest to this firsthand: while at tisch, in the cinema studies department, there are no required production or dramatic writing classes. every core class is based around theoretical interpretations of genre, director, era, you name it - but it's just theory. there's no significant look at the tools (and people) that go into the making of these films and, as such, no one ever learns about authorship. 

as anyone who's made a film, feature, short, or documentary, knows, there is rarely a single author on a film. there are obviously exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking, anyone who is given money by someone else to make a film doesn't have complete say over that film. unfortunately, too much criticism is dependent on a film having a single "creator" who is solely responsible for the shots, the mise-en-scene, the writing, the direction, and the overall message of the work. 

and this is rarely the case.

having studied the theory as well as actual filmmaking, danielweski saw the disconnect between the two and, at it's core, house of leaves is an analysis of that great chasm in addition to simply being a great, endlessly creative story.

whether or not the house itself is a metaphor is not at issue here. in fact, I'm going to proceed as though neither the house nor navidson's actions nor any of the actions within the "film" represent anything other than a superb story of vulnerable characters coming to terms with surroundings they cannot possibly begin to comprehend.

instead, we need to look at the criticism and commentary provided by zampanó and his primary (and secondary) sources. because it's that criticism, as I'm sure danielewski discovered, that can pervert and change (or seek to change) what is nothing more than a great, well-told story.

right from the beginning of zampanó's analytical tome, we're introduced to the footnotes that will run throughout the duration of the novel, some of which even compete with the novel for the reader's attention. structurally, the footnotes echo the narrative arc of the novel - as the paranoia intensifies, so do the abstract, rambling quality of the references. but the layout and structure is not nearly as important as what the footnotes say about the world of academia.

the reference material all too often seeks to interpret the house and reinterpret the views of others regarding the house. but these statements, often in the context of deep philosophical insight, often stand in stark contrast to the events of the film themselves. they assume a directorial and circumstantial control that, as danielewski makes blatantly obvious, the filmmakers do not have. but this never stops the critics from reading the source material in the most pretentious ways possible. as academics are wont to do, they view minute details as overarching metaphor where no such thing exists. 

what amazed while I was in school was the unfortunate fact that no theory is ever really wrong - when buffeted with proper evidence, any theory, no matter how ludicrous to the casual observer, is accepted into the zeitgeist of criticism without hesitation. I can't even begin to tell you how many completely absurd readings of films I was subjected to, all backed up by misinterpreted references, that were each lauded by published professors. these critics, these academics, it's almost as if they are, themselves, desperate to invent a reason to exist, to prove that their ideas are new and different.

but unfortunately new and different bear absolutely no relation to correct or even rational. this doesn't mean that many filmmakers don't leave certain details and themes up to interpretation - they absolutely do, and that's something that I strive for in my work as well. that ambiguity is essential to bring viewers back over and over again, to find new details and meaning as their own lives and thoughts change.

those who purport to make a living philosophizing on the meanings of completely insignificant details and actions, however, are instead doing just the opposite: killing the ideas and meanings they seek to illuminate. I'm not here to propose that critics are inherently detrimental to the work they critique; with the deluge of creative work coming at us from all mediums in the modern age, it's important for consumers to be able to sift through everything in an effective manner. but, and I think this is the point that danielewski is trying to make, critics overstep their boundaries in a desperate attempt to add to the work itself. instead of merely commenting and letting the end user arrive at his or her own conclusions, these critics are desperate to contribute something, anything, to the conversation that it almost doesn't matter what they say - just that they are heard.

it's too bad that this usually involves adding layers of meaning to works of art that simply aren't there. and I wouldn't be surprised if some of them viewed it as a game - how absurd can I make my theory and still "prove" it to the reader? and house of leaves takes this little game and ups it tenfold, exploring and subsequently mocking these critiques, theories, and philosophies be demonstrating that much of the time, they simply aren't true. at this point I'd point to specific lines and instances in the text itself, but, honestly, that's pretty much the whole book.

the way in which danielewski contrasts the facts with the theories is nothing short of revolutionary, an artist finally striking back against those who (deliberately or otherwise) misinterpret the very work they seek to understand. but like the house itself, there's no end to this criticism, and stepping into the world of academic criticism and philosophy is very much like stepping into that first long, dark hallway - you're now in a different world with different rules that bear very little resemblance to the reality you once knew.

(buy a copy of house of leaves from amazon.)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

mors atra crucis - one.

Mors Atra Crucis - I


29.17 MB

1. Plague
2. Pestilence
3. No Feeling
4. Plague II

two quick notes before this tape: first, this is my one hundredth post. wow. wasn't sure I'd make it this far. I meant to have a special critical analysis of one of my favorite books, but that will have to wait until post number one hundred and one. that's because, and this is point two, my girlfriend and I are in the process of moving across the country (again). we're leaving the vast, culture-less wasteland of los angeles and returning to the best city in the world, new york.

this has been the cause of the lack of posts over the last month or so, and I apologize...I don't even have my tape deck nor my record player right now, as they're both in transit. I have a couple more tapes already banked, but when I'm back up and running I'll be posting releases from monorail trespassing, legion blotan, universal consciousness, rhinocervs (if rh-16 ever actually ships), and a couple more.

and now, without further ado, we return to our regularly scheduled programming...


a new project from white medal's george proctor, this is the first (and currently only) demo from mors atra crucis, released through proctor's own legion blotan label earlier this year.

regular readers of this blog should be familiar with legion blotan - they've been releasing quality material from a wide variety of black metal-oriented acts since 2008. proctor himself has a whole host of projects he's a part of, which I won't even attempt to summarize here...suffice to say that everything I've heard from him has been worthwhile.

this new project and demo features the same roaring vocals that proctor is known for, as well as some fantastic, head-banging riffs that wrap up in just fifteen short minutes - this is definitely the kind of tape you'll want to listen to on repeat in order to absorb everything. it's his typical brand of excellent, death-oriented black metal.

copies are available from analog worship, the legion blotan webstore, and discogs, so grab one however you can. this is a great start - hopefully they'll release another demo before the year's end.

(buy a copy from analog worship.)

(for preview purposes only.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

soft option killing - s/t.

Soft Option Killing - S/T


72.54 MB

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

here's some fine industrial-tinged noise from soft option killing, released in 2010 by a certain excellent noise label.

originally self-released, this reissue every bit as well-packaged as the aforementioned label's other releases. I haven't been able to track down any of soft option killing's other releases, but they do have a pair of releases on unrest productions that I'd love to check out.

there's a lot of atmosphere on this release - everything almost sounds as if it was recorded live in a large, empty room. it's extremely effective and makes the noise seem that much more real, that much more present. there's also a great balance between the higher and lower ends of sonic spectrum. too many artists rely on either really high-pitched, sharp sounds, while others rely on lower, more subliminally-unsettling sounds, but soft option killing land right in the middle, incorporating both to great effect. and, when paired with just the right amount of ambience, you have a release that manages to stand out for all the right reasons, even amongst the label's heaviest hitters.

copies are available on discogs. other than that, I don't know - I haven't found a legitimate digital version, nor have I been able to track down any info on soft option killing besides what's on their discogs page. but if anyone out there has any info (or a rip) they'd like to share, well, I'd be much obliged.

(for preview purposes only.)

Friday, August 9, 2013

rub el hizb - ۞ II.

Rub El Hizb - ۞ II


36.57 MB

1. V
2. VI
3. VII

technically, the band's name is that little symbol, but it's just easier to type it out....and more searchable, too. after their previous release on colony, I was eager to hear more from this mysterious act, so I picked up rub el hizb's second demo, released in mid-february of this year by ydnirgal productions.

this is some extremely noisy and very raw black metal, with much more of a focus on the lower end of the audio spectrum than, say, sutekh hexen. the first three tracks lean toward the black metal side of things and feature distorted, almost tribal drumming, fuzzy guitars, and vocals that cut through the ether. the last track, however, is straight up noise, filled with oscillating tones and waves of guitar feedback.

the production is a little muddier than I'd like but these guys clearly have the skills to carve out their own niche in the black noise subgenre alongside like-minded acts like wold and the aforementioned sutekh hexen. with another release or two, they just might be able to pull it off.

limited to just fifty hand-numbered copies, this one is still available from the label via the link below. although the label is based in argentina and shipping is pricey, they're offering a code for international buyers that'll give you a slight discount - just stop by the store for more details.

(buy a copy from ydnirgal productions.)

(for preview purposes only.)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

sharing is caring: nichts fur niemand.

The New Blockaders with The Haters & Vomir‎ - Nichts Fur Niemand


44.5 MB

1. Nichts Fur Niemand

metallic imagery was recently added to the blogroll over at bleak bliss, and that blog's proprietor also shared my rip of the rita's second retrospective - two things that have drastically increased my daily page view numbers.

so, to say thank you, I'm sharing one of his recent posts - a collaboration between the new blockaders, the haters, and vomir. this release has something of a sordid history - apparently there was a pre-sale, every copy was sold, and then no one received anything. it seems a couple people received their copies as this rip is now available, but a lot of customers were left with nothing but frustration.

but with a title that translates to "nothing for nobody," maybe - as the static fanatic says - that was the intent from the beginning. at least the music itself is a solid, twenty-minute track of power electronics over a background of harsh noise wall. there's a wide variety of sounds and textures here and it should appeal to noise fans of all types.

so head over to bleak bliss via the link below and download this long-awaited release - despite the package's stigma, the music is absolutely worthwhile.

(original post on bleak bliss.)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

blodvite - falskt spektrum.

Blodvite - Falskt Spektrum


90.28 MB

1. Anachorein
2. Manipulerade Sinnen
3. Blödande Färger

here we have the newest blodvite tape, "falskt spektrum," released in may of this year by järtecknet. if you've enjoyed any of the label's previous releases, you'll definitely dig this one - it's nearly fifty minutes of noisy, industrial tape loops and manipulated field recordings.

everything is very distorted and very jagged, but viktor ottosson (who also runs järtecknet) definitely has an ear for these types of compositions - there are plenty of more ambient moments juxtaposed with the more industrial sounds that populate the majority of this recording. aside from simply letting the listener breathe, this down time also gives the harsh sections that much more impact.

the tape and j-card are manufactured and designed expertly. the former is clearly labeled with a sticker on each side while the latter is professionally printed on high-quality paper. I bought my copy from mount analog and you should, too - there's a link below. a few copies are also available on discogs, so feel free to go that route if you want....but why not support an independent label and an independent record store at the same time?

(buy a copy from mount analog.)

(for preview purposes only.)