Archive for Daniel Menche

Daniel Menche -Guts (Mego) 2012

Posted in Daniel Menche, Music, noise with tags , , on January 31, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Menche has had a great couple of years. After threatening to turn his back on releasing records after his fucking excellent Glass Forest CD, the quality of his output has been great. A few of  you have emailed me about Feral being my record of 2011. One of the reasons why I selected that record is that Menche turned up the harshness factor so that his processed field recordings became a much more visceral experience.

On Guts, Menche abandons his processed field recordings and records himself abusing the crap out of the “guts” of a grand piano. He has a photo of it up on his website if you want to check it out. But what of the actual noise he manages to extract from thrashing the inner workings of such a nice instrument  and then processing it. The first track is titled “Guts 2 x 4” and it is one of the  most disagreeable things that I’ve heard Menche do. I’m not sure if it was a mistake to start the record  with something so nasty but then again it could be actual genius. After “Guts 2 x 4” abruptly finishes, Guts One begins in a much more recognisably Menche fashion but the thing that struck me about it was the portentous heaviness of it all. This is Menche in Dark Ambient mode. His frequent interruptions of the cloud of filth with a sound which might be him dropping the whole mechanism  gives it a quasi-indistrial vibe. Yet as it continues it descends(ascend?) into old fashion noise and has some similarities with Werewolf Jerusalem’s static wall noise.  “Guts 2” tones down the all obliterating noise to add in much more creepy sounding effects. It’s all a bit sinister really but if you have a look  at Menche’s photographic work I reckon he has always had a bit of an interest in desolate post apocalyptic imagery. And if I’m right about that then Guts may be his finest example of it. Those wanting to dabble in Menche need to stay the hell away from this. It is the  heaviest thing I’ve heard him do. For those who don’t mind getting their bleak on this may be just the thing to start the new year with.

Daniel Menche – Feral (Sub Rosa) 2011

Posted in Daniel Menche, Drone, Music, noise with tags , , , on May 11, 2011 by noisenoisenoise

Since Menche reactivated as a recording artist last year he has produced some of the strongest and strangest work in his catalogue. There are four tracks on offer here. Two being some of the nastiest recordings I’ve heard Menche make and the other two much more mellow – if you’re idea of mellow is the creeping realisation that the world will end.  What I think Menche does on the second track is explore a much more dark place than he has in the past. This isn’t so much about the blood and energy  flowing through nature but more an exploration of the blacker, hidden side both in its dark recesses and its ultimate destruction. The word “desolate’ gnaws at me when I listen to Feral. Devastated, forsaken, hopeless, ravaged.  The thing to listen to on Feral is the  lower registers. This is where I think Menche excels. Feral One is all noise nastiness with emphasis on giants swarms of static and enveloping clouds of blackness but underneath all of that  is a bass level. There is life underneath the noise but it requires some deep listening. The spooky, chalky, bone  fossicking which made an appearance on his Coultis collaboration is on display  in Feral Three but only lasts momentarily before what sounds like the digestive process of Cthulu takes over  before changing into what sounds like a field recording of a wind, sleet and hail event in Menche’s beloved forests.   Feral Four sees him bringing a lighter touch once again but somehow the creep factor delves into dark ambient territory and is one of my favourite Menche tracks period. Feral is one of the most diverse records of his catalogue. Worth tracking down.

Daniel Menche & Anla Courtis – Yagua Ovy (MIE Music) 2011

Posted in Daniel Menche, Drone, Music with tags , , , , on April 27, 2011 by noisenoisenoise

Yet another helping of Menche-y goodness – this time on vinyl and scheduled to be released in June. I am a huge fan of Menche’s collaborative work and this time he gets together with Anla Courtis, the Argentinian  experimental guitarist. I’m a tad embarrassed that this is the first time I’ve heard a record featuring Courtis. After hearing this, it certainly won’t be my last.

Yagua Ovy is based on an Argentinian Werewolf myth  of the “blue dog”. The two tracks are an amalgam of Menche’s processed field recordings and Courtis’s instrumental experimentation. The two work very well together. Menche’s treated nature recordings are always disorienting. Actually strike that – most of what Menche does full stop is disorienting. To hear and then try to process the sounds of nature after Menche has finished often leaves me with the feeling that something sinister had been created. Nowhere have I had that effect more than on the first track, Runa-Uturunco,  where walls of static and squall wash over and often intimidate the creepy ambience created by Courtis. What Courtis does has to be heard to be fully appreciated. It is almost like someone is walking through fields of discarded bones – a chalky, hollow, percussive effect which lasts for the first seven minutes before yielding to  cacophony. I almost felt that I was being stalked.

The second track El Relincho has Courtis’s guitar experimentation overlaying what initially sounded like static but once the track progressed, revealed itself to be akin to someone struggling through banks of snow. If I felt like being stalked on the first track, the second is all about fear and flight. It’s both ominous and terrifying.

Menche says that the sound he creates is very controlled and is designed to provoke the listeners imagination. I think this is one of the best representations of that intent. Excellent. If you are lucky enough to have kept your record player then Yagua Ovy can be pre-ordered from

Zbigniew Karkowski and Daniel Menche – Unleash (Alien 8) 2008

Posted in Daniel Menche, Music, noise with tags , , , on April 12, 2011 by noisenoisenoise

This is my favourite noise record. Period. I’m not saying it’s the best noise record, merely my favourite.

Much of Menche’s best work (like Kevin Drumm and Merzbow) occurs in collaboration. Here the combined force of Menche’s processed, percussive, drone and the electronic squall and decay of Karkowski make for a heady mix. The six tracks on display here are in fact one long real time improvisation split up as it glides seamlessly into different movements. I’m much more familiar with Menche’s work so the striking aspect for me is his percussion which both stabilise and propel the collaboration. By the time I reached the half way point in the second track that percussion had been essentially buried. The promise of the title bore fruit. It is a torrent … a hurricane of noise – this time anchored by a tense, tonal undercurrent. As track 3 starts the sounds morph again and what is essentially released is very ugly indeed – like tar being flooded with electricity.

The two disparate elements that Menche and Karkwoski bring to the collaboration is what creates this very fine record. I think Unleash is a pretty essential record but seems to have been ignored in noise circles. Neither artist is particularly trendy in a noise sense but ignore this record to your detriment. Brutal and compelling.

Daniel Menche – Terre Paroxysm (Utech) 2010

Posted in Daniel Menche, Drone, Merzbow, Music with tags , , , on January 8, 2011 by noisenoisenoise

Terre means Earth inFrench and a Paroxysm is a violent outburst. The name makes a lot of sense when you hear this new set of processed field recordings.

I’ve spent a fair bit of the year listening to Menche. The percussive explorations of the past few years have given way to recordings such as the almighty Kataract that capture the violence of nature in extreme drone recordings. Terre Paroxysm is a follow on from that work and a very different beast to Ordardek. What Menche does on Terre Paroxysm is record storms and other violent weather events which happened at his home in Oregon. He then processes the sounds to create a drone laden set of field recordings which somehow create a creeping tension whilst the primary sounds are still recognisable. Never before have I heard water drips, sleet hitting windows and torrential downpours sound just so damn evil,. I love this sort of stuff and he was good enough to include the Blood of the Land mini Cd when I ordered this from him which is just as good. If you only buy one Menche record from 2010 you won’t go far wrong with this one.

Daniel Menche – Odradek (Beta-lactum Ring) 2009

Posted in Daniel Menche, Drone, Music, noise with tags , , , on May 17, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

There is something in Menche’s version of drone that sets it apart from many of his contemporaries.  On the surface the noise is a simply layer beast of low-end rumble and high-pitched distortion which somehow propels itself forward over the length of a track. The problem with a lot of drone is that if listened too passively the reason for the movement in the sound can be missed. On the first of two lengthy untitled tracks which make up Odradek the hidden something which makes it all work is processed percussion.  The track starts ominously enough with a an occasional jarring thud which sounds like a piano being punched but after those few distractions the track gains some momentum before half way through revealing its full percussive colours. It’s actually very clever because I think he is one of the few noise artists that can incorporate percussion into a layered drone and almost completely hide it. Despite all the different elements which combined to the first track, it is bleak as hell and is almost an aural representation of Menche’s black and white photography of Oregon’s wilderness.

The second track is really strange. It begins with the reading of a poem (in German) of the mythical creature which the album is named after. It’s all a bit KTL like in many ways. The spoken word component doesn’t last long and in typical Menche style lies under some effects (in this case some  chiming gong and distorted thuds). After the poem recedes into memory the track doesn’t immediately reveal itself as a drone track. It’s almost sounds like   an orchestra of wind chimes. The most remarkable thing about the track as it slowly moves and shift is that it is one of Menche’s few musical expressions of hope and genuine emotion. A startling leap froward for Menche and a remarkable record. It will take you a few listens to get the full effect but give it time and let it blow you away.

Mike Shiflet & Daniel Menche – Stalemate (Sonoris) 2009

Posted in Daniel Menche, Drone, Music, noise with tags , , , , on May 6, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

I know this sounds so depressingly nerdy but one of the  happier moments I had last year was finding out that Daniel Menche was releasing records again. As a return, Kataract was simply extraordinary and if you still haven’t tracked that down then I advise you to hurry up. I also bought Odradek which I’ll post on later. Some of the best noise/drone records you’ll hear are when two artists get together to form a new collaboration. I’ve never heard of Mike Shiflet before but know Menche pretty well. Stalemate snuck out at the end of 2009 from the French Sonoris label. Like most records in this genre there are few clues at to how the noise is made or processed. On the sleeve of the disc, by the artists names, it lists Hammond Organ and Electronics. Like Bleeding Heavens and its alleged processed trumpets, best of luck finding anything here that resembles an organ. It’s really a bit mad. For Menche fans the three tracks are slow paced pieces of cracking and distorted drone which change and move microscopically. It’s all rather good and worth checking out.

Daniel Menche – Bleeding Heavens (Blossoming Noise) 2007

Posted in Daniel Menche, Drone, Music, noise with tags , , , on January 6, 2010 by noisenoisenoise

One of my resolutions for this year (read my only resolution)  is to start reading the booklets in records I buy. For instance I had no idea until I was having a bit of a cruise through Discogs that Menche made an appearance on Monoliths and Dimensions. DBS was never meant to be a fan site of any sort, it started as a way of trying to articulate noise and experimental records without getting too pompous about it all. But if you hadn’t picked it up by now, I am a fan of many of the bands that I post on here. Being a fan is different from being a band tragic because I think the latter term indicates someone who is passing a less than critical ear over the records they listen to. For instance I’m a bit of a Merzbow fan but to be fair his  output for 2009 was patchy at best and downright dull at worst. There is Prurient I love and some, you know, not so much. In the case of Daniel Menche I have yet to encounter a record I think is anything less than brilliant. I think the same way of Kevin Drumm but I’ll leave that for a later post. Menche has a wonderful drone quality to his pieces of experimental sound that are rich and rewarding. You know when you have really good wine and you get that amazing mouth feel. Well Menche is kind of like that for your ears. Take for instance this record from 2007 (which is a very fine vintage  for Menche indeed). The only hint as to  what you are listening too is a line on the rear of the digipak that says: Daniel Menche: Organ and trumpet deconstruction. If you can hear any trumpet over the four tracks of Bleeding Heavens then you’re either high or lying. I discovered a smattering of organ on the second track but that too was a bit elusive.What happens on a great Menche record is that his deconstructions become an electronic drone with static under notes, the drone evolves and changes not so much through the use of pitch but more through volume and intensity. Sometimes it evolves through the use of oscillations to produce that noise being blasted through a ceiling fan vibe. His sound is almost like layering sound on top of one another until the ones at the bottom are taken away over the course of a track  until it collapses. Although , its fairer to say that these tracks don’t actually collapse per se, they just cease to exist, no explosion, just an intensification of sound and then  … nothing. At times it is simply breathtaking. The first untitled track on Bleeding Heavens may be one of my favourite noise/drone tracks because it show just how amazing this sort of sound becomes when drone is so malevolent that it cuts a gash through the Earth’s crust. The second is a stunner that evolves in to powerful oscillations. The third is probably the least successful and doesn’t quite have the momentum of the other tracks but the final piece is a tremendous trip into  semi-dark ambient territory before gently sliding into the void. Amazing. This is as good as any place to get into Menche and I recommend that you do.

Daniel Menche – Kataract (Editions Mego) 2009

Posted in Daniel Menche, Drone, Music, noise with tags , , , on December 11, 2009 by noisenoisenoise

Yay! Menche is back. As a devoted  follower of all things Menche, it’s nice to see him back in his solo guise. At the beginning of 2008 he released a statement about how he wasn’t going to release any more solo work and instead focus on visual arts etc blah blah blah . Don’t know what changed his mind – don’t care either. The important thing is he is back. Back!!!  As an aside you should go read his blog over at Menche may be the coolest high school librarian ever. Now to Kataract. Those bastards at Mego are releasing only 500 of these because noise music is so far up in own arse that only 500 people deserve to listen to this or it could be an economy of scale thing with the view that this stuff has a small market and 500 copies all they can shift. Whatever the reason I tracked this down from those nice people at Cold Spring and fucking la di da I’m one of the  lucky 500 so you know … worship me as a god.

So what’s it all about then. Kataract is one 40 minute track of processed field recordings and water falls  and electronic loveliness. I love it.  It’s harsh and droney and dreamlike and awesome and if you don’t buy this you suck. Seriously.  You know you want to hear what processed waterfalls sound like. You’re kidding no one. One of the albums of the year.

Daniel Menche – Jugularis (Important) 2006

Posted in Daniel Menche, Music, noise with tags on May 19, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

Yet another example of why Important is turning me into a slobbering, record-label fanboy. Daniel Menche is a recent discovery. The Wire had a bit of a write up on him a few months back and the description of what he did certainly pricked my interest. I’ve already posted my thoughts on the awesome Glass Forest and it was only going to be a matter of time before I dabbled again. I picked this up a  two weeks ago on ebay for no other reason than  that it was incredibly cheap (and still sealed!)

There seems to be a bit of a theme with Menche’s record titles. Consider some of these past titles, Bleeding Heavens, Beautiful Blood, Body Melt and Field of Skin. I have no idea whether Jugularis is representative of his back catalogue but for the  casual noise freak it has a lot to offer. Jugularis is a heavily percussive record and consists of three very long tracks (all called Jugularis) that are joined together without a break. It’s begins as an creepy ambient record (think of a more active Oren Ambarchi) before gradually building in intensity and changing texture over the next 20minutes.  The second track is an absolute cracker. Tribal drums are gradually digitally manipulated before being swallowed whole.  Menche’s use of percussive textures somehow build up a huge wall of noise without every relying on the hiss, squall and blast electronic fuckery of some of the other noise acts out there at the moment. There are noise textures throughout Jugularis but the focus is always on the percussion or some sort of digitally altered rhythm. It’s pretty good stuff. I’m keen to hear some of his earlier stuff which apparently delves into the dark ambient realm. Does anybody out there no enough about him to point me in the right direction.

Daniel Menche – Glass Forest (Important) 2008

Posted in Daniel Menche, Drone, Music, noise with tags on April 23, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d become a label whore again but Important are the most appropriately named record label out there. Not since the heydays of Blast First has a label released so many amazing records. The latest addition to this club is Daniel Menche’s Glass Forest. The album itself is comprised of three long pieces all named oddly enough Glass Forest. It is some of the most pure, transcedent drone I’ve ever heard. It’s both subtle and captivating, yet contains the odd shock here and there. In some ways it charts a similar course to some of Birchville Cat Motel’s blissed out drone epics. The difference with Glass Forest compared to say Seventh Ruined Hex, is that Menche actually goes somewhere with his noise. Its continually evolving and progressing, layers of field recordings are manipulated and layered on top. Occasionally a pulse finds its way into the mix. At other instances a more sinister beat takes control of proceedings. Static and hiss give way to tweaked frequencies before rejoining again. At time its like a long march through drone and noise with the odd attack and retreat thrown in for good measure. It’s noise penetrated by shards of light. The good thing is that this is now in my list of favourite noise records of all time. The bad thing is, my bank balance is going to suffer as I try to track down more of his past output. Very exciting stuff indeed. If you have a passing interest in drone or noise art for that matter, this may well be worth tracking down.

Here is a video I found on youtube. I think the CD is far better but it give s a taste of the drone.

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