Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No Nazi Noise: Casual Male, Half Nelson, John-A-Dreams, Last Of England & Tiger Hatchery

RJ Myato's new label, No Nazi Noise, is a concept I can get behind and I applaud his efforts to create a significant statement about the noise scene. Even if RJ doesn't agree with my assumptions, what the noise scene needs a lot more of these days are artists who are willing to take a stance towards positivity, the revelation of strength in noise and through that the nature of what is revealed by it. I've been around for so long and have seen such repetition of negative imagery and worn out ideas of what noise music is about. It's totally refreshing when young people in the scene move beyond those constrictions. Well, Mr.Myato sent me a batch of cassettes and a CDR, the cassettes I have reviewed below, the CDR will come later over at my Trailer Park Of Noise blog.


The split cassette by Tiger Hatchery and Half Nelson is an excursion into two sorts of free jazz noise recorded live in Pittsburgh. Tiger Hatchery have been around for a couple of years, a Chicago-based trio that consists of Andrew Scott Young, Ben Billington and Michael Forbes. The classic jazz trio is turned upside down and wrung out for all the noise shred it can muster on this. Beginning with a saxophone figure of repeating phrases, soon accompanied by what sounds like a bowed bass and some "ambient" metal percussion. The instruments move back and forth within the structure, sometimes soloing, then converging together to create a very active dronescape, sounding like bee colonies perhaps, or something darker... Impressive and picturesque freenoise. Half Nelson, named after a Miles Davis composition from the late 50's, is a newer group out of Pittsburgh that is getting a lot of attention despite a rather lean discography. Apparently, John Olson dug them enough to do a vinyl release for them on American Tapes, that should be worth seeking out. This session, recorded live and edited/mixed after the fact, starts with a saxophone and ambient percussives. Sounding a bit like some of Roscoe Mitchell's explorations of microtonal timbre (i.e. "S II Examples" from 1978), but not completely outside of melodic expression, with a repeated looped figure churning low in the mix. Then electronics kick in over the top, but the saxophone stays in the same mode, continuing the same line oblivious to the fluxing structure around it. It's a fascinating excursion that ends rather outlandishly with segments of conversation, more slices of solo sax and a fading guitar sample loop. A lot of meat to sink your teeth into for such a short cassette.


Another short but mighty release. The Last Of England side has heavy volume tape saturation. I certainly understand this kind of noise: bleak, crushing, metaphoric of this time-frame we live in, aimlessly winding towards it's own demise, then abruptly ending without apology. Then Casual Male brings us back to the origins of industrial noise using sheets of metal percussion, chainsaw buzzing, vocal snippets, high-pitched synth sounds clamoring, like being in the middle of a riot, everything whirling, intoxicated, or like a scene from Rubber's Lover where one's "psychic power is realized when mental anguish exceeds physical pain." In the end you lay there after the stroke, helpless, as the noise laughs at you.

JOHN-A-DREAMS (NNN#007) Orgy Of The Insect People (C40)

John-A-Dreams' "Orgy Of The Insect People" is another cassette of impressive noise-din, this time a bit longer at 20 minutes a side. This is the collaborative project of RJ Myato, Ras Bongo Tuff and Brad Kline. It sounds like it might have been culled from carefully organized live improvs. Beginning with what sounds like amplified shortwave radio static against screeching, scraping loops, building and evolving. All sounds very lo-fi but with many things going on at the same time eventually creating a dense soundscape where all the frequencies merge into one, as if many unknown languages are being spoken at once, or space frequencies are bombarding radio receivers, and what remains for the listener is to decipher the codes. The B side is quite different, a long ambient noise track, with what, at first, seems to be distant foghorns rising in the mix, warnings of faraway happenings, but later reveals itself as some kind of synth-filtered vocal, panning and playing with spatial effects, building towards a surprising ending with beautiful qualities.

THE LAST OF ENGLAND (NNN#006) The Last Of England (C20)

The self-titled Last Of England release, with a great cover, is another cassette slab of monumental noise crunch. One side of said cassette was blank, and whether this was intentional or not, knowing that naked tape hiss has it's merits, I turned the volume up and sat through all of it. Then, as the tape player switched silently over to the B side, I was suddenly hit with a startling burst of pure noise force! Quavering high-pitch squeals set against a powerful electron drone that remains constant throughout, very forceful, ponderous and wonderful!

The No Nazi Noise site can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. erik said that the Last of England tape was not to be blank on the a-side.

    but it was cool of you to listen to a blank tape.

    stay up.