Noma / Rejectamenta—Noma / Rejectamenta (2009)

Noma / Rejectamenta—Noma / Rejectamenta (2009)

Noma / Rejectamenta—Noma / Rejectamenta (2009)

Details

Released on At War With False Noise Records, 2009. Limited to 500 copies.

Bands

  • Tracks one and two, all sounds and dictaphonics by John Cromar
  • Track three, all sounds by Adam Cresser

Tracks

  1. Friede in den gedanken (13:30)
  2. Amusia (22:37)
  3. SSilence (33:10)

Review

More experimental, ambient drone.

The packaging is curious. It comes with, what the record label refers to as “reverse art”, so the front cover is on the back, and vice versa.

Both experimental artists Noma (John Comar) and Rejectamenta (Adam Cresser) hail from Glasgow

The record label described Noma’s contributions to this split release thus:

He takes on two tracks here, the first is a slowly-building tone-fest. Very ambient, and hauntingly beautiful…bascially what Noma does best. Next track “Amusia” is a little atypical of what most people will expect. Imposing thuds are interjected by what sounds like some form of screeching metallic machine being thrown down some stairs, electronic blasts. Surreal, bizarre, unpredictable….very Noma.

Rejectamenta’s solitary track represents only his second ever release. The track here “SSilence” is a follow up to “SServant”. This is clearly not a silent track. It is, to quote the press release, 33 minutes of a “total overload of a billion circuit-bent instruments all melded together into one massive orchestral binary cacophany”

 

Conclusion

There is something intriguing about these sounds. But I’m not sure I’d choose to listen to this terribly often. But it is quite grand, like a soundscape.

Review score: 60%

Marzuraan—Five years worth of fuck all (2008)

Marzuraan—Five years worth of fuck all (2008)

Marzuraan—Five years worth of fuck all (2008)

Details

Compilation album. Presented as a three-panel cardboard sleeve, double-sided print, with stark black letterpress and clear varnish.

Encyclopaedia Metallum

Band

No information on sleeve; so assuming:

  • Stu Ellen—Vocals
  • Pete Burn—Guitars
  • Lee Stokoe—Bass
  • Rob Woodcock—Drums

Tracks

  1. After glow (recorded: Soundroom 2007) (Loop cover)
  2. Muck bucket (Rehearsal 2006)
  3. Moneybox (Live: Leeds, Pack Horse 2006)
  4. Turned inside out (Live: Stereo: Glasgow 2006) (Rollins Band cover)
  5. Nice wang (Live: Northumbria University, Newcastle 2006)
  6. Bad flange (Live: Soundroom, Gateshead 2004)
  7. GMT (Live: Lord Clyde Hotel, Byker 2005)
  8. Martian deconstruction (Drum free mix RYN 2004)
  9. Earth 3 (Recorded: Pedroom 2003)
  10. HARMed (Recorded: Pedroom 2002)

Review

As far as I can tell, this was Marzuraan’s final release, a compilation of five years’ worth of live recordings. I do hope the album title “Five years worth of fuck all” didn’t truly reflect a cynical and bitter exit, but was a bit more tongue in cheek.

The CD package itself is pretty interesting, coming as it does as little more than a folded oblong of rough, natural card tucked into a plastic sleeve. I like the creativity.

The music style is largely drone / experimental noise. The production quality isn’t great but you do get a good sense of what the band was about. There are more than a few transient moments that reminded me very much of Jesu (Godflesh’s Justin Broadrick’s other band).

But for the most part it sounds little more than someone striking his guitar and leaving it to echo out propped up against his amp.

I do rather like “Earth 3” (track 9), though.

Conclusion

While I do appreciate that this style of music is attractive to some people, there isn’t quite enough here for me. It meanders ponderously a little too much to keep my attention. This is probably like early Napalm Death to Tolkien’s tree-herder Ents!

Review score: 30%

Half Makeshift—Omen (2008)

Half Makeshift—Omen (2008)

Half Makeshift—Omen (2008)

Details

All instrumentalisation, recording, mixing and artwork by Nathan Michael. Mastered by James Plotkin. Thank you Nicholas, Chris, James, Marc, Adam, Jess and Earth. Released on Profound Lore Records, 2008.

Band

  • Nathan Michael—Everything

Tracks

  1. Omen I (15′ 27″)
  2. Omen II (12′ 12″)
  3. Omen III (11′ 01″)
  4. Omen IV (12′ 11″)

Review

This is a curious album. It is only four tracks long, but it still lasts over 50 minutes. The album packaging is quite surreal. It looks like a collage, drawing together retro images from, I guess, the 1950s or 1960s, alongside photographs and illustrations of human anatomy, and chess diagrams. And then there is next to no text on the packaging—nothing to do with the album, anyway. Anything that I’ve gleaned about the album or composer I’ve had to find elsewhere.

I tried to listen to the album at first in the car, but I couldn’t hear much above the rumble from the road.

Omen appears to be one piece of music, separated into four parts, sitting somewhere on the experimental / ambient / drone spectrum.

I’ve been searching for a word to sum it up, and I can’t get far beyond “devastating”. There’s a deep melancholia to the music, as it densely flows from one cinematic soundscape to the next. At times I felt as though I was drifting aimlessly on an ocean, beneath a heavy grey sky. It’s definitely not a piece of music to put on to cheer yourself up to.

And yet… having listened to it once and having come out the other end feeling utterly miserable, I just went back and started it again. And again. And I’m now on my fourth listen today. There is something mysteriously human about it; there is something about it that makes it oddly soothing and comforting while paradoxically making you also feel on edge. It’s like sitting down in your comfy fleece trackies and jumper, clutching a mug of hot chocolate to watch The Blair Witch Project.

The music itself is a mixture of guitar (clean and distorted), bass, drums, keyboards/piano, and various sounds, frequencies, waves and bursts of static. Passages are played backwards, and throughout there is a deep drone. Some passages flow, others like those in “Omen III” lurch adding to the jarring. It is simple but uneasy.

Conclusion

Half Makeshift appears to have been the project of Nathan Michael, who stopped recording music convinced that the world would end on 21 May 2011 (the birthday of Great King Rat, for any Queen fans out there; and the birthday of my grannie and her twin sister, for any members of my family out there). Omen then was his last recording: a requiem for the human race. If I’d known than before I might have kept this as the final album to review.

Like much modern choral music, this is a love-it or hate-it kind of album. I’m veering towards the love-it end of that particular spectrum, but I guess I’d need to be in the mood to listen to it. It’s just that mood will likely be depressed.

Review score: 80%

 

 

Deuterror—Le Gueule de Guerre (2007)

Deuterror—Le Gueule de Guerre (2007)

Deuterror—Le Gueule de Guerre (2007)

Details

Released 1 June 2007 on Steelwork Maschine.

Band

  • Nicolas Crombez (aka Deuterror)—One man project from Belgium

Tracks

  1. Untitled I
  2. Untitled II
  3. Untitled III
  4. Untitled IV
  5. Untitled V
  6. Untitled VI
  7. Untitled VII
  8. Untitled VIII
  9. Untitled IX

Review

This is Nicolas Crombez’s third album under the moniker Deuterror, the first two being internet-only releases.

The album title “Le Gueule de Guerre” is French for “The Mouth of War”.

I think I’m probably stretching boundaries quite a bit to categorise this album as metal, but we’ll run with it. It’s hard to pigeonhole exactly (which is always a good sign in my book). It’s broadly dark, ambient / drone / industrial.

The album certainly has a cinematic feel to it. Like the soundtrack to a really bleak, post-apocalyptic movie. It’s subtle, it’s atmospheric, and I really enjoyed it.

In a way it reminded me a bit of Towering Inferno‘s album Kadesh, but with the atmosphere of the soundtrack for Dear Esther.

Nine untitled tracks, which Last.fm helpfully labelled with Roman numerals, so I have followed suit. Here are my notes on the nine tracks:

  1. Insects. Pulsing bass.
  2. Pulsing electrical arcs. Train. Bells. Organ trumpets.
  3. Aircraft flying over. Rocket. Dischordant. Horns. Horrific choir.
  4. Rain. Thunder. Train. Birds. Someone walking breaking twigs.
  5. Deep horn. Mellotron. Gunshots. Distortion.
  6. Suffering voice. Growling bass.
  7. Strings. Chorus. Guitar and organ.
  8. Choir.
  9. Scraping tools. Drum beats.

And there it is. 43 minutes and 55 seconds worth of various noises.

Conclusion

I rather liked this album. It’s interesting, it’s experimental, at times uncomfortable, always challenging.

Review score: 94%

Detritivore—Pakt (2010)

Detritivore—Pakt (2010)

Detritivore—Pakt (2010)

Details

Music by Detritivore. Artwork by Justin Bartlett. Produced by Joakim Jensen. Mastered by James Plotkin.

Band

  • ?

Tracks

  1. Postludium
  2. Lutring
  3. Messe
  4. Undergang
  5. Pakt
  6. Finale

Review

With an album cover like that I expected something dark and black and Norwegian. And it is but not in the conventional sense.

It’s hard to categorise this album. It reminds me in part of Monotheist-era Celtic Frost (it’s the dirty, slow guitar sound) and Justin Broadrick’s post-Godflesh shoegaze/drone outfit Jesu.

This album is certainly not easy to listen to in the background; the album demands your attention, and there’s something really great about that.

So, a quick run down of the tracks:

“Postludium” is initially like an atmospheric soundtrack to the zombie level of one of the Call of Duty games. Then there’s a bouncing distorted riff that puts me in mind of Apocalytica at their most energetic, and distant sung vocals in the style of something from Towering Inferno’s Kadesh (1993).

“Lutring” builds on a distorted, sustained note. This could be something from Bladerunner. The note broadens to a chord. A heavily detuned guitar punches Tom G Warrior-style riffs out through a deeply distorted amplifier. It closes with the sound of planes flying over a post-apocalyptic landscape.

“Messe” offers more weird noises into which a guitar picks out a diatonic pattern beneath a quietly wailing violin. Eventually these are joined by a bass and overdriven guitar. Sustaaaaaaaaiiiiinnnnn,,,

“Undergang” sounds like it was recorded in the London underground. During a flood. It’s a study in white noise without anyone actually saying “Shhhh!”

“Pakt”. The title track. A clean arpeggio opens the track. Bludgeoning riffs. Dischordant chords. All played slowly and deliberately.

“Finale” beings with high-pitched squeals. Out from it emerges a rolling, almost bouncing riff that eventually burns itself out after eight minutes.

Conclusion

This is an unexpected gem. It’s experimental. It’s interesting. It demands attention. I really, really loved this album. Well done… whoever you are.

Review score: 90%