Archive for noise

Mike Shiflet – Blurred and Scorched (Wachsender Prozess) 2012

Posted in Drone, Mike Shiflet, Music, noise with tags , , , on February 25, 2013 by noisenoisenoise

Blurred & scorched

Hey did you know that Mike Shiflet snuck out another CDr in 2012? Me Neither. But thanks to the power of the twitter and the majesty of bandcamp you can snaffle a copy either digitally or a physical CDr if you so choose. I would have got myself the CDr but there is no international shipping so usnon-american noise people will have to make do with the digital version. It should not be a real mystery to anyone who reads this blog regularly that I appreciate Shiflet’s art. In fact he produced my two favourite records of last year. There is just something about the gritty, intense drones that Shiflet produces which do for something for me. Although Blurred and Scorched may lack some of the shimmering epicness of The Choir, The Army, it’s ten tracks are great examples of agitated experimental drone music. It’s the type of sound that is meditative and challenging at the same time. If I had heard it last year it would certainly have sneaked into my top 10. Shiflet along with Aaron Dilloway and Kevin Drumm are currently making up my unholy trinity of US experimental artists right now.

At the moment (until the end of February) Mike is using the proceeds of the sale of Blurred and Scorched to help some fellow Ohian musicians with their medical bills. Coming from a country with universal healthcare I find the thought of that kind of depressing but please make sure you pick up a copy before March and while your there get yourself a copy of Llanos and Omnivores. Both classics.

www.mikeshiflet.bandcamp.com

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Mike Shiflet – Sufferers (Type) 2011

Posted in Drone, Mike Shiflet, Music, noise with tags , , , on August 10, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Type records have been releasing some absolutely cracking records in 2011/2012. Two of the finest are the Mike Shiflet records Sufferers and Merciless. Both records were recorded just before Shiflet’s ground breaking Llanos record of last year. Sufferers came out at the end of last year and is my favourite of the two. It’s always hard to categorise Shiflet’s music. I suppose the starting point is to call the tracks on Sufferers drone but I just feel that the use of that term is just not quite right. There is a melancholic deliberateness to the work here.The sound moves incrementally and  in some ways it has the overall feel of an ambient version of Wolf Eye’s  Burned Mind record of a few years back. There is a lurching post apocalyptic field recording quality to the first few tracks but it’s Shiflet’s use of volume and intensity of the sounds that makes Sufferers a couple of steps away form an ordinary drone listening experience. This is drone for the rust-belt noise guys – the sort of thing which seeps into your consciousness to leave you just a little creeped out and extremely unsettled.  Tremendous.

Haswell & Hecker – Blackest Ever Black (Warner Classics and Jazz) 2007

Posted in Florian Hecker, Music, noise, Russell Haswell with tags , , , on June 28, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

The location – Warner Classical and Jazz Corporate Office, London 2007

Phil: Thanks for coming everyone. As you know this meeting has been called to discuss the first quarter releases. So what have you all got?

Debbie: I have some great Ray Charles reissues.

Phil: Great – they’ll sell like fucking hot cakes. What else?

John: I’ve got a new 18 year old cello protegé from Malaysia.

Phil: Sounds good. Is she fuckable?

John: Hell yeah!

Phil: What do you have Bill?

Bill: Well I’ve been reading the Wire and there are  these two guys called Florian Hecker and Russell Haswell and they are into sound art and shit.

Phil: I’m listening …

Bill: See what they do is feed pictures into Xenakis’s UPIC machine to produce sound and music. It is totally off the charts! It sounds like electronic squelches and drones and stuff. It’s  a total mind fuck.

Phil: It may be the amount of PCP I’ve just had but that sounds like an absolute winner.

Bill: They may not be fuckable but the sound totally fucks with your mind so same same if you get my meaning.

Phil: You had me at “may”.

Fast forward three months later

Phil: Bill can you come in here for a second.

Bil: Sure, what’s up?

Phil: You’re fired. Get out.

* I quite liked it by the way.

Mike Shiflet – Gutter Divas (Dokuro) 2010

Posted in Drone, Mike Shiflet, Music, noise with tags , , , on June 5, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Mike Shiflet has had a great run of releases recently and I promise I’ll get around to posting on them soon but I really wanted to write about this one. Gutter Divas was a cassette only release from 2010 which appeared in very limited quantities on an Italian label, Dokuro. There are still copies floating around on the internets but you need not  worry about such things because for  couple  of bucks you can get your own copy straight of Mike’s bandcamp site. I actually find it extraordinarily difficult to write about Shiflet’s music. He has graciously agreed to an interview but  for  a man who makes a living  cross examining witnesses I’m really struggling to come up with a set of questions that don’t sound lame.

Anyway, Gutter Divas is a two track release which focuses on static-heavy drone. The first track Gutter Divas uses sudden changes in volume to, I don’t know, raise  the tension and  … look what I think he does is smash the passiveness of the usual listening experience that tends to be the fall back position of people like me who are huge fans of the meditative qualities of drone. Drone is an overused term on this blog  and it has a many variants as any other genre but I suppose what Shiflet achieves is a more restless, industrial, overt form which is like a caffeinated ambience. The second track, They Don’t Have The Heart to Tell You is the type of straight up drone record where the subtle insertions of other frequencies and sounds and variations in volume keep the track from being purely static. Although it feels like much less is going  on than the first track, it is far more aggressive in the fact that the drone used is the type that changes the  listener’s ear pressure (which I actually like a fair bit). Gutter Divas is the Shiflet record I listen to the most and a pretty neat starting for those that have never heard him before.

Bruce Russell and Roy Montgomery – Split (Grapefruit Records) 2012

Posted in Bruce Russell, Music, New Zealand Bands, noise, Roy Montgomery, The Dead C with tags , , , , on April 28, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

This vinyl release is coming out on Grapefruit Records. a subscription style label in the vein of Three Lobed. On this release we find two of the towering giants of the New Zealand underground. The Pin Group’s Roy Montgomery and the Dead C’s Bruce Russell. My love of the New Zealand  avant garde music scene should be of no real surprise to regular readers but I had very different reactions to the two tracks on this album.

Lets deal with the track that confused me. Bruce Russell’s track is titled Mistah Chilton, He Dead. I’ve listened to it a stack of times. In the car on the way to the tip, through headphones on a long walk and at the supermarket and a few times after my kids have gone to sleep and the house is quiet.  There is no doubt that it is a tricky track to write about let alone come to terms with. There is a squealing, frantic quality to the sound that during its earlier stages reminded me a little of some of John Zorn’s more brutal outings. It sure as shit ain’t the Dead C. It has a bit of the lo-fi about it, it’s not exactly drone but it is not noise as many of us understand it. It has its charms (especially the last seven minutes) but I didn’t a great deal of pleasure from it. And goddamn it, if there is no pleasure in noise then what is the fucking point. I felt the same way about Russell’s work in A Handful of Dust. I just didn’t get it. I am obviously the wrong audience.

The flip side by Roy Montgomery is a very different sound altogether. This is pure chiming guitar drone pleasure. Emotional melodies float over the top to create quasi folk-like psychedelia. It is absolutely gorgeous – an avant garde take on emotion and bliss. Pure pleasure.

I am keen to read other reviews of Bruce Russell’s track. I may be missing something. I’m just not sure what it is.

Mike Shiflet & Joe Panzner – Split (Rubber City Noise) 2012

Posted in Joe Panzner, Mike Shiflet, Music, noise with tags , , , , on April 25, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

This year Mike Shiflet has turned up on my noise radar in a serious way. I had no idea the guy even existed until he teamed up with Daniel Menche on the mighty Stalemate. I’ve now become a bit obsessed. Shiflet’s bandcamp site is a treasure trove and if you haven’t heard his record of last year, Llanos, then you are missing out of something very special indeed.

I was pretty happy when Rubber City Noise (the label that released the fantastic Cane Swords record last year that would have easily been in my top three releases of last year 2011) sent me a copy of Shiflet’s split release with Joe Panzner, a fellow mid-western noise guy. Each artist contributes a 22 minute track. Shiflet’s is titled Recollect and may in fact be the most accessible thing he has done. It is a stunning piece of ambient drone work which begins as a beautifully meditative composition until the comforting tones are stripped away to reveal its desolate heart. An amazingly emotional track from Shiflet which abandons the austere distance of some of his earlier work.

Joe Panzner’s track is titled Reconstruct and begins as a jittering, stuttering noise track that recalls Jazkamer at their Merzbow like best.  Yet lurking under the barrage of fuzz, feedback and static is a Stars of the Lid style drone. It takes a fair bit of active listening to hear it but as the barrage dies down and brief glimpses of calm return the drone shrinks away. It is one of those tracks which combines everything that is wonderful in drone, noise, experimental weirdness. It is a remarkable composition. Utterly amazing.

Both of these tracks contain some of the finest experimental sound you will hear all year.  Rubber City Noise is in danger of becoming one of the best labels around right now and you’d be mad not to get a copy of this. Another absolute winner.

Merzbow – Green Wheels (Self Abuse Records) 1995

Posted in Merzbow, Music, noise with tags , , on February 28, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Green Wheels is one of those Merzbow records that has  a special place for a Merzbow tragic like myself. The packaging is wonderfully mid-1990’s with the CD and a 5′ vinyl record being housed in a cheap plastic video case. It’s another one of Merzbow’s fetish objects and now ridiculously difficult to find. Every now and then they pop up on ebay and I think this is where I tracked this one down.

Like much of his mid-1990’s period Green Wheels is an uncompromising cascade of brutal noise. Somewhere between Oested and Pulse Demon. It’s extremely good and if you ever see a copy I recommend you consider nabbing it.

When I first started ducksbattlesatan (or noisenoisenoise as it then was) my focus was to try to write sensibly about my interactions with more experimental music and describe the sounds from an outsider’s perspective. As I started to listen to more difficult and noisier records I became interested in coming to terms with other people’s reflections and writings on noise but those excursions have all been disappointing. Listening to a record like Green Wheels after a decent break from Merzbow had me reflecting on a quote from Alain De Botton who said that ugliness is the the material manifestation of a crooked soul. So if the quote is correct I’m scared to follow the reasoning to analyse noise as a genre. If noise is the most ugliest of sounds what does it say about the souls of those who enjoy it. Am I a deeply crooked or abhorrent soul?  I suppose it highlights in some way, that writing about noise as a musical genre and it development over the years always has some problems. Every essay or analysis I read on noise seems to miss a fundamental point. If noise itself is left over sound or valueless then where does the aspect of pleasure in noise come from. It can’t be simply an appreciation for the transgressive and it surely can’t be a reflection on my nature. I think it reveals that noise has value – that to say that it is left over sound misses the point.  Or maybe what gives noise value is the context. For instance a 30 minute recording of a jack hammer has no value but that same recording of a jack hammer when covered with layers of fuzz and other sound may be a highly meditative experience which I as a listener give value to. So intrinsically the sound may have no value but with context it’s worth is secured. And this is how records like Green Wheels have worth and how people like me  derive pleasure from them.

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