Archive for Whitehouse

Various Artists – Extreme Music From Africa (Susan Lawly) 1997

Posted in Cut Hands, Music, noise, Whitehouse with tags , , , , on November 23, 2011 by noisenoisenoise

If you read the liner notes of this “compilation” released and compiled by Whitehouse’s (now Cut Hands) William Bennet, you may be left with the impression that somehow through the use of the internets and various other means he was able to locate a noise underground in places as diverse as Zimbabwe and Morocco.  It is all a big con of course. The groups whose tracks are allegedly compiled on this record  are all fictitious and all of the tracks were probably created by Bennet himself. It makes sense given Bennett’s flirtations with African rhythms in some of the later Whitehouse Records and explorations in ethnic percussion in Cut Hands

The subject matter which inspired this alleged noise underground is a powerful potpourri of transgressive bits and bobs for the power electronics set. Torture, despotism, massacres, corruption, mutilation etc are all stories of modern Africa.  The problem is of course that even a cursory listen will reveal that many of the sounds used are hardly African in nature. Take the first track Blood Lullaby. It is basically a noise remix of Deep Forest’s Sweet Lullaby which I have stuck at the bottom of this review to remind you just how awful the ethno-techno fad of the early 1990’s was and the vomitous pretentiousness of the videos of the time. Of course the problem with the actual Lullaby sample used is that it is from the Solomon Island which is in the Pacific Ocean and not Africa. On one of the later tracks I swear there is didgeridoo being played which, if I’m right, makes a mockery of the African premise.

Notwithstanding that,  the music and noise on Extreme Music From Africa are absolutely superb. It is jaw-droppingly fantastic. For the most part the music doesn’t quite live up to the cover. This is less a transgressive power electronics album than an avant garde interpretation of a fantasy underground. There are some uncomfortable moments in some of the tracks  that rely on high frequencies but they are in the minority. Tracks range for the Nitzer Ebb Industrial dance music of No Rada No Rada (allegedly by Petro Loa) to the sampled military brass band butchering some awful post colonial national anthem or something. There are great samples of Toureg tongue trilling and even some Burundi-style drumming. At times the samples of human interactions reminded me of Nurse With Wound’s Shipwreck Radio.

This is on of the best records I’ve heard all year. You don’t have to be a Whitehouse fan to dabble with this. It is less noise and more avant garde electronic weirdness. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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Whitehouse – Birdseed (Susan Lawly) 2003

Posted in Music, noise, Whitehouse with tags , , on December 12, 2009 by noisenoisenoise

Whitehouse are one of the most important bands to have released records in the last 50 years. From their work as artistic directors for the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics, to their remix work for Beyonce, Whitehouse have done more to define modern pop music than any artist. U2, Cold Play and Jay Z all display the influence of this now sadly defunct band. Sure you may have  heard the bass line of Wriggle Like a Fucking Eel in Timbaland’s latter day work with Justin Timberlake but it may be their Pulitzer winning poetry for Philosophy which may hands down define them for eternity . Whether you are into pop, rap or musical theatre, Whitehouse will have you snapping those fingers and tapping your toes*

* Writing about  any record from the godfathers of power electronics is going to be a difficult to do. If you can come to terms with the sheer dodginess of the lyrics, the noise itself is an almost cathartic experience.  Skip through track 4 if you know what is good for you, but the rest will take you some where else whether you actually want to go there or not. A disgustingly foul bastard of a record. I recommend it.

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