Abstract, delicate, yet quite wrenching and abyssal at the same time. This one goes deep. Caving…
More tasty double time pummelling lashed up with some cat o’ nine tails screamo and freestyle noise – not quite speedcore, thankfully.
Stand out for me is the slow ’n’ rugged, crypt creeper from Samurai Music boss himself, DJ Presha’s other moniker, Korse. Wicked switch up at 4:08ish to full lanky stomp.
There is a theory in spiritualist circles (and not just from that “I see dead people” Bruce Willis movie) that ghosts only remain in a place because the deceased don’t realise or know they’re even dead; they might have died or been killed very suddenly and now their spirits are lost, wandering somewhere between this world and the next. Faced with a ‘presence’ one is supposed to firmly command out loud, “Go towards the light! There’s nothing for you here!” Now I’ve only ever blurted that out once in my life (seemingly in the wrong circumstance too, but definitely in panic) when I half woke in the middle of the night, paralysed by the feeling that some malevolent body was kneeling or sitting on my back, pinning me down and squeezing the breath out of me. I was later assured by a Medium friend that this had almost certainly been the Night Hag and even though it happened a very long time ago I’ve never forgotten the sensation.
Subjecting myself to a complete start-to-finish listen of Alberich’s latest album produced a not dissimilair, mesmeric sensation to this many-moons-ago incident, if not physically then certainly in an hypnotic oppression, with an unpleasant constriction of the cerebellum and cortex to boot. By the end I did feel a certain paralysis, almost as if something had been pushed onto, or rolled over me, against my will. Listen to the rumbling, crackling, shuddering, feedback sheathed 10min+ magnum opus ‘Radio Op‘ (below) on quality headphones; the hard-to-make-out, garbled, beyond the veil vocal incantation – is it merely talking to itself? or does it want you to understand? to help?
I haven’t forgotten
Every part, every day
It’s hard to stop thinking
Somewhere else, but still here
This impossible box is in my pure heart
There is suffering, but no guilt
Or there is guilt, but no suffering
I remember how the earth felt
Hard, cold, home
I will return somehow
Back to the pit that birthed me…
There is something undeniably necrotic, lost, wandering ghost even (but not nostalgic/haunted, à la Fisher et al.) about this contemporary industrial meta zona; the continued, slavish obsession with militaristic imagery – almost unchanged since Industrial Records introduced this trope in the late-70s (only here it appears to be Tuol Sleng and the Khmer Rouge? not the transgressive frisson of Nazis and the Auschwitz crematory. It is, I suppose, now what the Pentagram or the Sabbatic Goat is to metal); the musty ‘basement’ tapes vibe (not so far removed from the sub-sub-sub black metal genre Dungeon Synth) – unsocialized, nihilistic, disturbed young men who should have left home long ago, still living with their mothers; the onus on disgorging almost ectoplasmic quantities of raw, unfiltered product over quality (Hospital Productions catalogue alone – over 600 releases since 1998!). I needn’t go on. As usual I grow weary even labouring the point to myself, muttering like an old man sitting on a park bench by himself, throwing crumbs to the pigeons. Like most other genres, the canon remains largely the same and to try and break with it at this point – pointless and self-defeating, even heretical. Tribal identity, especially for those who don’t even realise their scene is dead, is (nearly) ALL now, not individualism.
“Operated under extreme psychosis, performed live in the dead of night at the studio of The Hague’s pirate Radio Tonka, these two records contain an apocalyptic selection of the very darkest moments of its maker…”
Sonic weeping and gnashing of teeth from the madhouse then?
Perhaps deliberately inept but demented drum machine/beat box grunge – as kind of techno occupational therapy? I’m down with this lunatic fringe that Bunker-Panzerkreuz seem to keep finding curled up in their doorway. There’s a kind of autistic honesty to it that cuts to the chase. Maybe Techno was always about being lost (there was even a legendary club night in London called that in the 90s), staring over the brink – struggling with the straight jackets of your own personal demons;
“Uttering words of God knows what madness, or God knows what truth?”
Did the Drugs<>Techno interface release that? … or encourage its very pursuit?
There was always a lot of drug psychosis in the Bunker camp if we’re to believe the stories, but wasn’t there everywhere? (We all have our lists of casualties).
But surely only Bunker-P. could find a nutter who apparently received instructions from Jaz Coleman (Killing Joke) in his dreams, to make a project called ‘Ye Gods’ to unite the universe through electronic sound!?
Second part in the White Rats trilogy. Always impeccably polished somehow, to a high gleam. No muck or cheapola distressing effects, but all the heavier for it.
They’re still roaming, even though there’s little to do, or play with, regarding structure if we’re being honest – the framework’s already there, firmly cemented to the ground at 140bpm (like the 4×4/128bpm +/- 1 or 2 of Techno, or the 85/170bpm of Grey Area etc, etc).
Like an abandoned playground with rusty frames creaking in the wind (I’m thinking Pripyat, above), all that happens now is wasteland wandering kids come along and tie their bits of coloured ribbons or trinkets to the poles. Some more come along later and maybe nick a few, add a few new ones, do a spot of re-arranging maybe and move on when they get bored (or grow up). Time and weather do the rest.
Somehow always a few steps ahead of the pack with his lean neo-Dungeon vibes.
This one off Samba’s latest: gotta say, this (for me) carries on the theme of my previous post’s muttering/musings about going deeper – ‘caving’ etc. This starts to impress with its oppressive, maximalist minimalism; tunnels narrowing…
And last but not least, Dalek One – City of Oz (Hatched 32)
“…a carefully curated body of work showcasing the breadth of his production skill.” (Deep Medi Musik)
It’s the “carefully curated” that makes me weary – for all the implicit reasons, that surely don’t need re-hashing at this point. Might as well have ‘Made in China’ on the label. Maybe it is hard to do? Properly. Maybe not at this stage? Is there really ‘breadth’? I largely hear rather desperate wrangling – especially in these ultra-well dug-in genres. And don’t get me wrong, that can have its break-out thrills too, and be a challenge in itself for the young acolyte, but then it has to push through to darker chambers (and we’re talking way beyond the ‘Dungeon’ now). I’m talking about Speleology. Caving. Going much deeper.
Norbert Casteret is regarded by some as the modern father of this arcane pastime. He came from Saint Martory in France and between around 1920 and 1970 was one of the most active cavers of his era. Most of us have never heard of him. Why would we? He spent much of his life underground, often solo, feeling his way through unmapped passages to discover wonders we could never have imagined existed; vast underground cathedrals, raging starless rivers, cave paintings, human remains, relics from prehistoric times.
I only chanced on him myself a few years ago, in an old climbing magazine lamenting (not dissimilairly to the state-of-dance-music 2020) the safeness and lack of mystery and amateur adventure in the contemporary sport; now all big brand sponsors, urban climbing walls/gyms, kids’ parties, finger board training etc.
“He would often cave naked (except for a swimming cap) and only take a candle and matches along with him. When he came to a sump, where the water’s surface meets the roof of a tunnel or cave, he would blow out his candle, wrap it up with his matches and tuck them under his cap. Taking a deep breath, he would then submerge and with one hand keeping contact with the ceiling and one hand probing in front he would drag himself along – into the unknown.
At this point most of us would probably be in the last throes of panic at the sheer claustrophobic terror, the near freezing cold water, the absolute pitch darkness, but Norbert would be calmly counting, Un, Deux, Trois …
He may not have known where he was going, or what he would find, but he knew what he was doing. He remained cool and collected. He knew just how long he could hold his breath for, he knew how cave systems worked and he knew the way back if necessary. If he counted to half of how long he knew he could hold his breath for and then went beyond that mark, he knew he would struggle to get back the way he’d just come and possibly even drown. But…if he felt the current change, the tunnel ceiling alter somehow or the water temperature change, he pressed on.”
(Andi Turner, Climber, March 2013 edition)
CUT BACK TO:
J Sparrow. On a few of these tracks he almost dares to do this. Press on. Into the unknown. Particularly on ‘High Fidelity’ (post the cornball Rasta incantations – that’s ‘breadth’ is it?). At 00:54 there’s this utterly stark free fall into inky black, reductionism. He holds his breath; submerges; just a single kick drum every 4 beats, a sub bass pulse and an off kilter sonar, a tweak. That’s it! No generic cracking snare on the 3rd. No gooning bass blurts. (‘Un, deux, trois’…) It really could have been leading somewhere, if only he’d held his nerve.
But no. He bottles it and turns back.
That something so minimal and simple can seem so surprising, so suggestive even, is very – what? (I can’t quite put my finger on it) – 2019?
Blistering slice of 150bpm industrial footwork (?) conjuring ghosts of UR/Seawolf WPA/Punisher era. Relentless, monolithic, frantic, mech-loop thrash. Crystalline, shimmering ‘Exo’ is also pretty bangin’.
God knows how any of this kind of wild abandon (with even the slightest hint of drug taking) would translate on a dancefloor in the United Arab Emirates though? If at all? – Jump cut to scenes of a good cell beating… (but then maybe Bedouin is just another hipster label, safely ensconced in Berlin, playing off some intersectional cultural heritage – as is the vogue these days). I hope I’m wrong.
Sci-Fi computer game, flee and evade vibes with some breakbeat teasing, Grimey synth dirges and tribal cyberpunk flutter and bounce to his percussion – oil drum bashing on the post apocalypse scrap heap sorta thing. You know the score.
Ol’ Pinchos was rinsing out the stand out tune here ‘Year of the Blood Moon’, a lot on dub (a year or two ago it must be now?)
Unfortunately served up, by the label with (seemingly mandatory) pushed to wincing level, brick wall mastering. Totally unnecessary – I honestly thought those days were gone?
Oh and dis one, from Chilean producer Tomás Urquieta, off his album last year, is also big and badass. Metallic and clanky dark bass business. Is that a hammered to gold leaf thin Reese fog horning away? Brick walled as usual.