Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Marax: Black Veil Of The Sanguinarian, Crawlspace Atrocities, My Suicide Note Penned In Sound

MARAX (Muchausen Sound Cat. #MS-10) Crawlspace Atrocities (2011) CDR

Eric Crowe began his Marax noise project in 1998 after a year or more of concentrated work experimenting with sounds, field recordings and electronics. His first release, titled "Feel Free To Fuck Me", was nearly impossible to find until later reissued by Crucial Blast. Even at this early stage, Marax had his sound blueprinted, his work consisting of abstract electronic textures, sometimes pounding, rhythmic, harsh walls of distortion, with high pitched feedback squalls, and, nearly always, a vocal presence. He continued to release a lot of work until the mid-2000's and then seems to have gone on a hiatus that lasted about five years. He is now again very active and since 2010 many albums have been released, mostly cd's.

"Crawlspace Atrocities", though newly released, belongs to that first period of Marax's work as it was recorded at a live concert in 2003. Whatever was going on at The Highnote in Birmingham, Alabama on that night of June 27th, couldn't have possibly prepared the audience for this sonic manifestation of pure evil! Beginning with a low bass rumble against an echoey backdrop of media snippets, soon the bass texture becomes an angry drone with electromagnetic fields fluxing around the edges. A voice enters, whispering in an anguished tone, you find yourself in the dwelling, or mind, of a maniac. A powerful electric current builds forcefully to an abrupt end, changing the mood as if a door slammed. Now it is even darker and more forbidding. A recurring loop lurches into the frame, then the voice returns, Golem-like, admonishing you over and over.

Drawing equal inspiration from black metal, dark-ambient and noise genres, the result is a quite literal soundtrack of sinister evildoing. As a live performance this is very well-controlled, deliberate, the chaotic aspects associated with noise music are reigned in, compressed, making it feel as claustrophobic as it ought to be considering the subject matter. It takes on the feel of time passing slowly, while you are always at the edge of dread, with strong visual aspects that combine to create a stunning horror film soundscape!

MARAX (Sensitive Receptor Cat. #01) My Suicide Note Penned In Sound (2011) CDR

One look at the Marax discography reveals Eric Crowe's complex obsession with death and suicide. For a time he was working on a proposed twelve album release schedule for Crucial Blast that was titled "For The Love Of Death". I'm not sure that series was ever completed, but Marax, in 2011, is finding new ways to express his thoughts and feelings about death in his music.

"My Suicide Note Penned In Sound" is a brand new work from Marax. This is the first release on the Sensitive Receptor label based in Bremen, Georgia. Limited to 100 copies, this pro-duplicated cdr comes in a sleeve with artwork as stark and minimal as the sound of the work itself. The single composition here runs a little over an hour in length and delivers a statement of dire consequence. As though we are in the mind of the person penning the suicide note, everything is seen through a veil of self-doubt, all mental processes running simultaneously. The finality of this grim epic of life and it's sad conclusion are exemplified by a massive, droning, deep well of noises, a sort of minimalism/maximalism that, with volume, reveals many layers, but outwardly seems to sort of hover, no movement except what is in the timbre of the noises and the details of sounds that can only be perceived through a dazed fog. Placing the listener in exactly the kind of emotional place one would correlate to that of a person contemplating such an act of permanence. For fans of the "Harsh Noise Wall"(or HNW) style this will become your new obsession. Further delineates the labyrinthine nature of Marax's work, his sound cannot be pigeonholed, whatever the approach, he is making noise music of the highest order.

MARAX (Crucial Bliss Cat. #Bliss34) Black Veil Of The Sanguinarian (2008) CDR

Reaching back a few years, we have Marax's "Black Veil Of The Sanguinarian", released on the Crucial Blast label in 2008. Eric Crowe's dreams and nightmares come to life on this album. Under the alter ego of his noise project, Marax, he has found a way to embody his fears, neuroses, repulsions and express them sonically in ways that are profound. As a regular noise listener, I have the benefit of recognition of the vocabulary, but imagine the shock of a newcomer to the genre when listening to this? one who does not know the language?! Inviting comparison in style to such artists as Ultra, or Schloss Tegal, but still sounding totally individualistic and that's one of the things I dig about Marax, his music does seem to come from an earlier time when noise was distinctly tied to so-called "industrial" culture. His music is dense, dramatic, forceful, visionary, filled with layers of intuitive meaning and creating, for me, a vivid dream state. For those of you who dig noise/drone this is one of the best releases I could recommend!

Info & updates on Marax via official Facebook page: HERE
Check in with Marax HERE to browse available releases.

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